The Value of Water: MPA Speaks on Behalf of Manchaug Pond

MPA President David Schmidt present the “NO BREACH” position of the Manchaug Pond Association at state MEPA meeting.

Meeting of MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act)
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Environmental Notification Form # 14435
July 7, 2009, 3:30 p.m., Sutton Town Hall

David Schmidt, President

Thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of Manchaug Pond. My name is David Schmidt, I am President of the Manchaug Pond Association. This organization was formed over 40 years ago to promote the welfare and correct use of Manchaug and its watershed. My family has owned a summer cottage on Manchaug since 1938 along with many of the other 120 property owners. In addition to our members, many enjoy this 380 acre lake through the public access boat ramp, the campgrounds, the YMCA day camp for inner city kids, as well as those who view from the historic Waters Farm. We will be sumbitting written testimony based on the observations and experiences of living with this Great Pond as our backyard. We strongly oppose this project and foresee many issues and hardships caused by its action.

Today we respectfully ask that the scope of the MEPA process consider:

First – the impacts to Manchaug Pond and the bordering ecosystem: to our private wells; our two coldwater tributaries and native brook trout fisheries; to the 4 vernal pools and the bordering critical habitat area; to the wetlands, coves and bank and the significant 380 acreage under the water, habitat to fisheries and other wildlife; to public access; and to the strides we are making with the current s. 319 DEP storm water grant; and to our non-chemical control of invasive aquatic species.

and Secondly – to the downstream users and ecosystems of the Mumford and Blackstone River systems. Manchaug Reservoir is the headwaters of the Mumford River. It is the largest reservoir on the river system and with Whitin Reservoir contributes the major portion of the flow of the river. Downstream impacts include those to Stevens and the many other smaller ponds but more dramatic are those to the major water users: the Whitinsville Water Company, the Douglas Waste Water Treatment Plant, the Milford Power Plant, and the soon to be Alternatives Unlimited hydroelectric plant.

While the Manchaug Pond dam has served the mill industry safely for 130 years, it must not be discarded. Today this rich water resource provides a more important role. Its water storage capability provides the flow for drinking water and waste water treatment, for life in the river system, and an environmental habitat to many diverse wildlife species. Manchaug Pond is needed now more than ever, especially in light of today’s environmental pressures and the valley’s build-out potential. In closing, we challenge the dam owner to recognize the value of Manchaug Reservoir to the community and to the Commonwealth, and to work creatively and in partnership to preserve Manchaug Pond and the Mumford River system. Thank you for your consideration.

The MPA as well as many other local and state boards and agencies will be submitting detailed comments about the concerns for this latest proposal of the dam owner – Manchaug Reservoir Corp. c/o Interface, Inc. Atlanta, Georgia

Speaking in support of Manchaug Pond this day, with many grave concerns over this project:

Rep. Jennifer Callahan, Sutton resident and District Representative
Rep. Paul Kujawski, District Representative for Douglas
James Smith, Sutton Town Administrator
George Pucci, Attorney, Kopelman and Paige, representing Town of Sutton and SCC
Mark Briggs, Chairman Sutton Conservation Commission (SCC)
David Schmidt, President, Manchaug Pond Association
Jeffrey Roelofs, Attorney, Law office of Jeffrey L. Roelofs, for Lake Manchaug Camping
Robert Nunnemacher, Assessor, Sutton Board of Assessors
Kevin Geraghty, Member, Sutton Board of Selectman
Jack Sheehan, Member, Sutton Conservation Commission
Peter Coffin, Coordinator, Blackstone River Coalition

Also addressing the dam owner:

Richard Lindstrom, Sutton Resident, asked for information on the old Indian dam.

In attendance:

A extensive list of Sutton and Douglas town officials; many property owners from Manchaug, Stevens Pond and along the Mumford River, Sutton residents; leaders and members of organizations from Manchaug Pond Association, Mass Audubon, Blackstone River Coalition, Blackstone River Watershed Association, MA Congress of Lakes and Ponds, Whitin Reservoir Watershed District, and the Mass Bass Federation; and representatives from state agencies from Mass Department of Environmental Protection, Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation, Mass Department of Fish and Game, etc., etc.

Consider putting your thoughts and concerns about the removal of the Manchaug dam, the reduction of Manchaug Pond from 380 acres to 201, the elimination of Torrey Road from Parker to Holt Road, the loss of the boat ramp, and the loss of access from the shoreline properties, the impact to the environment upstream, downstream and along the river…

put it on paper, in writing and

send to:

Secretary Ian A. Bowles
EOEA, Attn: MEPA Office
William Gage, EOEA No. 14435
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston MA 02114
Deadline for submission is July 14th.