Worcester Telegram article tells of grant secured by MPF

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Manchaug Pond Foundation in Sutton receives EPA grant to protect watershed


SUTTON — Residents around the 380-acre Manchaug Pond bordering Sutton and Douglas are moving forward with plans to restore the lake’s water quality with the help of a water protection grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Environmental Protection.

The nonprofit Manchaug Pond Foundation announced recently it had received a “Section 319” nonpoint source pollution grant totaling $208,525, according to Vice President Marty Jo Henry. The grant includes nearly $120,000 from federal funds, and the remaining roughly $89,000 reflects volunteer time contributed by the foundation.

Ms. Henry said the grant will fund projects to filter the nitrogen, phosphorus and “total suspended solids,” a term for the microscopic flotsam and jetsam from the roads, including bits of tire rubber, that muck up the water.

“All of that, especially after a big rainfall, ends up getting flushed right into the lake,” Ms. Henry said. “This will end up capturing and filtering it.”

Specifically, the money will go to planting rain gardens and restoring vegetation on public and private property at five sites around the pond to better filter and absorb runoff, and improving storm drains so stormwater will flow from roads to appropriate collection and outflow sites.

In addition, the group is working with Whittier Farms, which sits along tributaries to Manchaug Pond, to plant blueberry bushes and revegetate a buffer zone to catch runoff. The Whittier family will create a rain garden to catch runoff from the roof of its milk store. Ms. Henry said the Whittier rain garden will serve to educate the public about water protection.

The Manchaug Pond Foundation will also conduct public outreach and distribute educational materials about restricting fertilizer use. Phosphorus from fertilizer and animal waste contributes to excessive plant and algae growth in freshwater ponds, which reduces oxygen for other aquatic life and can lead to murky “dead zones.” Nitrogen from fertilizer, septic systems and other sources does the same as it flows into saltwater.

Ms. Henry said that the foundation plans to develop a watershed protection toolkit with educational resources for all ages. The group intends to post the material on its website so it will be available after the three-year grant expires.

Engineering plans for the work have been largely completed, and the foundation is obtaining Conservation Commission permits to begin the ground projects in spring.

Anyone interested in helping the Manchaug Pond Foundation with the grant is encouraged to contact Ms. Henry at ManchaugPond319@gmail.com“>ManchaugPond319@gmail.com.

Contact Susan Spencer at susan.spencer@telegram.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanSpencerTG.