Sutton Order of Conditions DEP # 303-0669

Late yesterday, the Sutton Conservation Commission released the long awaited for Order of Conditions for Interface Global’s Notice of Intent – DEP # 303-0669 which seeks to bring the water level down 3 1/2 feet plus and reduce the acreage by 55+ acres. The Order is 13 pages long plus support material of 7 attachments from engineers, MRC letters, and water level graphs, etc…

I have to say I was not confident as to its contents, but the Order does uphold the Wetlands Protection Act, does put mechanisms in place to ensure communication up and downstream and does acknowledge the well-maintained condition of the dam.

Here’s a quick look at the Special Conditions on page 11

1. “Applicant shall maintain water levels generally in accordance with the Historic Rule Curve developed in the 1930’s and used throughout operations of the dam through early 2008, and shall maintain water levels at, but no higher than the, Historic and Operational Rule Curve in a manner similiar to the dam’s recent history of operations;”

2. “….. install a standard staff gauge…. 40-50 feet beyond it downstream….”

3. “Applicant shall release water generally in accordance with the advanced flow regime…Mumford Low Flow Study…”

4. “…. because it is not headquartered on-site…. sufficient Notice and in attendance by a MRC agent, two Town of Sutton-designated representatives… monitor the water levels and who shall notify the dam operator of any changes or inconsistencies in the conditions of the structure and its operation.”

5. … continuous contact with the owner of Sutton Falls Dam ….Steven’s Pond Dam, Town of Sutton, Whitin’s Dam, Town of Douglas and the Douglas Wastewater Treatment Plant and the owner of Lackey Dam…”

6. Applicant … maintain public liability and casualty insurance…”

7. Applicant shall immediately implement the repair and maintenance recommendations contained in….Kleinschmidt..”

8. Any damage caused… to any wetland resource areas shall be the responsibility of the Applicant to repair, restore and /or replace….”

9. “… file formal procedural protocol document with the Town of Sutton, DEP, ODS, Army Corps of Engineers, Town of Douglas…. detail…plan in anticipation of predicted 1″-12+” rainfall/storm events…”

Comments 9

  1. So please…….paint us a picture of what to expect this coming month….will the boards be put in to start bringing the waterlevel up and what are we seeing for the average waterlevel? Plus as usual thank you for posting info… 🙂

  2. Good question… I am not a lawyer or an engineer… but as I read it the Order requires the waterlevel be maintained at the “historic and operational rule curve.”

    According to the Order’s Rule Curve Analysis for the month of April, flashboards would need to go in to maintain the correct waterlevel on April 1.

    Also the Order is not final until all appeal periods have elapsed – 10 days for anyone including the dam owner to appeal to DEP – which brings us again to April 1st.

    If there is an appeal than that brings us to the appeals completion OR to DEP’s meetings last spring, etc., telling Interface to put in the flashboards.

    SO.. while the lake level continues to drop, and more damage to the ecosystem occurs, we’ll listen for an appeal, watch for April 1, and continue to push ahead.

  3. Thank you for the info provided…….this does’nt sound good as it seems that this billion dollar company could really care less what the concerns are…..thats easy to see……..thats too bad. My camper is coming out of Kings next month an onto a lake i know will have normal water levels! It is a shame cuz i do really love the lake…..but i don’t need this crap every year happening……take care and thank you very much!

  4. The article is very confusing to most all of us? We can’t understand if this motion of the Sutton Order is a positive one or not. Can you explain a better disposition? Also where is the information found on how to join this important cause and committee? I have tried several times to e-mail the information that was posted above with no one contacting us. Please this is a matter that needs special attention to all residents and visting people to this lake. I would be happy to make this matter public and get people to help fight for the right to save this lake before it becomes a swamp! You mention Bass fisherman, there will be nothing left in a matter of weeks if this lake isn’t properly cared for. There will no need to even try to take your kids fishing on this lake soon! Ducks, Eagles, are you kidding, they both eat fish, they will be leaving too, if we don’t try and stop this bull. How about a explaination and a future expectation of residents to do? Help by explaining in english, please! Very Concerned

  5. Dear Readers, I knew I would take heat for the last two blog entries. I’m glad you are upset – we all need to be.

    The lawyers for the dam owner, the state officials, the campers, our seasonal residents who live across the U.S. need to see the lake as it is. We are their eyes. The people who care are the voice of the lake. The dam owner’s attorneys need to see the jewel we have. I can paint a picture of how it will all look if they are allowed to bring us down to 190+ acres, but I would rather tell them the treasure we have. The Public Access Board needs to see the ramp. The campers need to see it is still a beautiful place worth hanging in there for. Our residents in Florida, Rhodes Island, California and in 21 different communities in Massachusetts need to see the lake right now – what they will come home to.

    Personally, I know there is plenty of gloom and doom. Last June’s fish kill, when the water was higher than today’s level… 2 five gallon pails full of dead fish from the shore – I reported it to Fish and Wildlife, I photographed it, shoveled them into the bucket, flies, stench and all and dug holes and buried them.I sent testimony this year to Sutton, Douglas and DEP…Last week,as I walked with my two of my daughters and my grandsons by the state boat ramp, a fisherman stopped and told me to be sure to show the kids all the little shells on the shore. Sure enough more death: the shore was littered with thousands of tiny shells- open, empty clam and mollusk shells…The wetland area behind my house no longer is a place where spring peeper sing on warm summer nights. How many other species, not as vocal, are dead because of the change in the waterlevel and the timing of Interface’s drawdowns. Interface’s engineers are correct that no formal studies have been conducted on Manchaug’s dead but any objective scientist will tell you the value of decades of observations from people who know Manchaug best – those that live and play here.
    Don’t worry. This author takes none of this lightly. And there is no group more committed to this lake than the MPA.
    Yes, this is the gravest of situations and we are dangling on the edge of a precipice. Our dam owner’s attorneys hold a lifeline that can preserve this beautiful water resource right now or turn us into a mud hole by summer. The ball is in their court – they can comply with Sutton’s Order to restore Manchaug Pond to the normal level; they can honor the gentlemen’s agreement they made last year with DEP and put the flashboards in April 1; they can be the “green” business their website says they are; and they can live the vision their founder proclaims – all right here with this lake and their dam. I know they don’t want to get stuck with the dam but they need to take responsibility for it, it’s their property, they made money using the water – now its time to give back to this community and follow this thing through.

    Maybe rather than using the dam safety angle, Interface, you could put rip rap on the earthen side to solve the 1/2 pmf dilemma and then hire a new realtor to sell the mill and dams or just donate the thing with a maintenance fund to the state or one of the towns and be done with it. You go back to Georgia, Maine and Boston and we’ll go back to the lake and we’ll all live happily ever after.

  6. To the reader who would like campground recommendations on a lake… The Old Holbrook Place, Kings Family Campground, Lake Manchaug Camping and upstream Sutton Falls offer a wonderful camping experience in this area. Each campground has its own distinct personality. My family has actually camped at Holbrooks and at Kings and loved them both. Lake Manchaug and Sutton Falls are nested in the Sutton hardwood forest and look to be equally wonderful.

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