MORE DEAD: Clam Shells Litter State Boat Ramp

Update April, 2009:

Mass DCR confirmed identification as Asian Clam, a new infestation localized at the state boat ramp. 14 Massachusetts lakes have been identified as having Asian Clam.  Correct timing of the winter drawdown of the waterlevel can be employed as a successful, no-cost method of control for this young infestation of the exotic, non-native invasive species.

Posted March 30, 2009.

Reports of shells at the state ramp came in from a fisherman and from a member of the Manchaug Pond Association Board of Directors who lives a few houses up from the State Ramp.

Upon further investigation, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny empty shells appeared on the shore and in the shallow water aside of the launch area at the State Boat Ramp on Torrey Road, Sutton. Photos below, taken March 20 and 22, 2009, show teeny tiny shells – open and empty.

Perhaps Asian Clam (Corbicula fluminca)- Since we have not encountered before, clearly not the larger native mussel common to Manchaug Pond, and the location found is the state boat ramp strongly suggest it was brought in from a visiting boat from another lake which has the exotic invasive species.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Lakes and Ponds’ Weed Watchers Program had been contacted to get a positive identification and to set up training for members on exotic invasive species.



The cause of death?  Winter drawdown.  2008, last winter, the dam owner Interface Fabric deviated from the usual recommended timing of the winter waiting until the second week of December rather than the traditional September – October. This was documented in a written testimony submitted by the Manchaug Pond Association on September 16, 2008 to the Sutton Conservation Commission siting 2003 recommendations from Lee Lyman of Lycott Environmental for Manchaug Pond:

“Gradually begin mid-September to early October to ‘allow certain aquatic organisms such as fresh water mussels, crayfish, turtles and amphibians to migrate to deeper portions of the water body to over-winter.'”

This testimony was presented as Manchaug Pond is also home to native mussels, crayfish, turtles and amphibians… As Interface’s engineer Stantec points out in a March 4th letter to Sutton Conservation Commission concerning our gone and severely declined spring peeper and bullfrog populations in four cove areas, the same holds true with our mussel population and this clam species… “Stantec is not aware of any on-going studies or reports documenting amphibian populations around the reservoir. We are also not aware of any documented report from any local, state or federal agency linking a decline in amphibian populations to the lower water levels from this spring.”

If you notice anything out-of-the-ordinary, any adverse impact to the lake ecosystem, notify the Sutton and Douglas Conservation Commissions.

Further, the state Generic Environmental Impact Report can also be referenced for information on drawdowns:

Comments 6

  1. I agree that calling Sutton Conservation Commission to report anything out of the ordinary or any adverse impact to the environment is needed, but why stop there? Why not also call Phil Nadeau with the Department of Environmental Protection and every state politian, local newspapers, local and state news channels and cable news outlet too? The more people that are aware of Interface Global’s actions at the pond, the better it will be for the pond and it’s creatures large and small. Let’s make sure that Manchaug Pond is in the thoughts and prayers of every household in America. Folks, it is time to get seriously organized. They say that one person can make a difference, but can you imagine what we all can accomplish together?

    So if you do see anything adversely affecting the creatures on the pond, please make those calls to the authorities immediately. Whatever you do, don’t pick up or move any of the dead fish, turtles, mussels or the like. If you can, document your findings with video or photographs just in case someone/something comes along and cleans up before the authorities arrive to document the situation.


  2. I also noticed the same shell problems in my area of the lake that is located directly across from the great Blue Berry Island. many creatures including the crawfish, frogs, ducks and other species will be effected by these shells dying at an alarming rate. We are talking by the millions. Soon the species will die or go else where and then the environment dies with it. I can’t understand why the people of Sutton and Douglas haven’t showed more concern or realize how serious this is? People time to step it up or we will lose the best place in these two towns that have to offer! “Join In”

  3. Please report “shell” problem in your area to the Sutton Conservation Commission, Douglas Conservation Commission, and DEP Waterways.

    SCC: 865-8728
    DCC: 476-4000 ext 357
    DEP waterways: 508-792-7650

  4. Elinor, we DO NOT want to flood Phil Nadeau’s phone with calls nor that of his boss. They have enough pressure and are very responsive to us. They have met with us, with others, visited the lake, taken photos, documented fishkills, dried coves, exposed bank, checked the dam, etc. They are all working very hard for us doing an incredible job. Let’s let them do just that. The ball is in another court at this moment anyway.

    Timing is important.

    Also I have found that the staff people in all these agencies are people just like you and me who also have a great love for their work, and who live on a lake, serve on their Conservation Commission are fisherman and hunters, and many who even recreation here – Manchaug is their pond as well as yours and mine! They are allies!

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