Ease the Flow Downstream!

Here at Manchaug Pond the water level is going down… fast.

The flow as seen on Parker Road, Sutton:

Let’s be thankful it did not rain overnight. The dam at Manchaug Pond and the newly implemented 1930 Rule Curve is dumping enormous amounts of water downstream.

A flood watch was implemented this past weekend at one area business with hourly monitoring of the river required. We have seen the Stevens Pond dam and the dam at Manchaug center act just as they have been designed in order to handle the tremendous flow.

The flow over Stevens Pond yesterday:

The flow in the village of Manchaug – not just a ripple.

And the water over the falls in the village center – calmer than the weekend.

But back on Manchaug Pond, trying to stick to the new rule curve, I am sure has been a challenge for the dam owner. Weekly, if not daily rainstorms, keep bringing the waterlevel up as the dam owner works to take it down the steep slope of the new curve.

While we on Manchaug Pond are happy not to have been flooded with recent rainstorms, there continues to be the nagging yet realistic concern downstream of too much water.

It is ironic that a 1930 rule curve would be employed at this time by a dam owner who never employed the curve in close to half a century of operation. The 1930 curve was designed when the lake was much smaller in size – before the new and improved big dam and big water uses downstream – and not designed with a run of river/natural flow regimes type management in mind. Downstream, during these heavy rains, does not need Manchaug’s extra water just because an antiquated graph calls for it.

Perhaps we could hold back a bit to allow Stevens Pond and the Mumford River to adjust.

Comments 4

  1. Why doesn’t the MPA just purchase the dam from Interface? I’m sure with 2 campgrounds you could get enough investors. It would seem that there’d be enough interested parties that would want to ensure the water level stays high, especially since their income depends on it. I know there’s probably less than 1/2 the amount of residents as their is on the Whitins Res, but I’m sure you could raise the money.

    PS: Thanks for putting more buoys out between the ramp and the old dam to mark rocks. Us boaters greatly appreciate it! You really have to stay in the channel before you get beyond the wall. I’ve mangled a couple of props in the past years trying to dock at some of the King’s waterfront sites.

  2. I believe the dam owner is exhausting all avenues to sell the dam and make some cash… after all they are a profits-based corporation.

    I’ve never heard of a price for the dam. The MPA has always maintained the environmental conservation position – a large company doing the right thing for a community and the environment could easily donate to preserve the natural resource for this and future generations. Our past relationship was always very cooperative with the dam owner’s representatives.

    As for the campgrounds, they speak for themselves and are two different stories: one just changed hands and is learning the ins and outs of campground management and the other strongly and vocally opposes investing any of its local tax dollars for the dam.

    PS: Reader, nice compliment but are you sure you’ve been out on Manchaug? The MPA has not put out buoys.

  3. I think that if the State was to buy the dam and operation, all you folks on the shores of the pond should be charged a user/access fee just as the folks that use the ramp are charged. This would offset the cost of operations and not burden the majority of Commonwealth inhabitants of the cost of something that the minority uses, not to mention that you have 3 comercial enterprises that profit from the operation of the dam. It is sad to see that no one there will take resposibillity, as has been the case of many other waterfront users in the Commonwealth who have bought and taken control of waterbodies that they benefit from.

  4. The state told us right out – they are not in the business of buying dams. So that is not an option.

    Living near the lake, I am told raises the value of our homes by about 30% – that’s how an 800 sq.ft cottage on a nice lot sold a couple years ago for $649,000. We already pay more for this lake through property taxes. Secondly, through our collective involvement with the MPA we are the voluntary stewards of the lake. Our voluntary contributions fund the hiring of environmental scientists and engineers for watershed surveys, water quality testing and weed surveys. We have also sponsored educational programs and donated equipment and resources to the local police and fire department and the public access ramp not to mention MPA’s securing and administering the 319 grant.

    MPA has done plenty in the past without holding the deed to the dam. We have a 40+ year history of taking responsibility. Our willingness to form a district a few years ago proves our strong committment to preserving the lands of the watershed, getting new grants and looking to the future of Manchaug Pond. We can only do what we are allowed to do.

    The MPA continues to work creatively to achieve the goal. The President said this morning we have to “flow like a river and take the best path and get guidance ….” The dam belongs to MRC, we’ll see what they want to do next and who they will work with.

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