Manchaug Pond Foundation Land Conservation

Got Horses? Donkeys? Chickens? New Outreach to Backyard Farms in the Manchaug Pond Watershed

Posted April 19, 2023

We love our animals, gardens and pastures in the Manchaug Pond watershed – especially horses, donkeys, beef cattle, sheep, and chickens!  A 2020 watershed survey found close to 30 small hobby farms dot the landscape in this corner of Sutton, Douglas and Oxford. With water quality in mind, the Manchaug Pond Foundation is offering two new outreach programs to small farmers as part of a s319 Nonpoint Source Pollution grant received from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

~ The first is a series of 24 newsletters and 12 podcasts – Hobby Farming with Water Quality in Mind.   Our series is “for owners of ‘Hobby Farms’ – small scale farms operated primarily as a residential lifestyle – to provide their owners with the tools to develop and operate an environmental-friendly farm and promote responsible stewardship of both land and the environment.”

Each Wednesday for the next 24 weeks, we will release a newsletter on a topic of interest to backyard gardeners and animal owners which offers best management practices, options and solutions to farm and raise animals with our lake, streams and wetlands in mind.  Topics will go the gamut from planning your farm to understanding fertilizers, dealing with mud and manure, to utilizing integrated pest management and more.

~ The second initiative offers technical outreach to several animal owners or backyard gardeners/farmers within the watershed. This spring, an environmental specialist will visit small farms in the watershed offering site specific recommendations on stormwater management, nutrient and manure management and water quality protection. During the site visit, individualized recommendations on site layout; land, nutrient, and animal management; and non-point source reduction will be offered.  A list of recommendations will be discussed with each participant receiving a copy of the handbook:  Hobby Farming with Water Quality in Mind: A Guide to Successful Backyard Farming While Protecting Our Water Resources, October 2017 (funded under s319 project #15-05/319 – Small Farm BMP Guidance).

So, stay tuned! and if you would like your homestead/small farm considered for a technical site visit, contact us through the website at

Manchaug Pond Foundation Land Conservation



Clean up

Annual Spring Lake & Watershed Cleanup this Saturday – Spring into action! Manchaug Pond Foundation Water Quality

Manchaug Pond Foundation invites all to our annual spring Lake & Watershed Cleanup on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Volunteers are needed to canvas the lake shoreline, public boat ramp, and watershed roadsides removing litter and other potential threats to water quality.

All are invited to meet at the state public access boat ramp, 22 Torrey Road in Sutton, anytime between 9:00 a.m. and noon to fan out across the watershed. Refreshments, good company and the fresh beauty of Manchaug Pond will make for a great morning! Safety vests, gloves, and garbage bags will be provided. Rain date will be Sunday, April 23rd with notice posted on the Manchaug Pond Foundation social media and website at Volunteer time will support the Foundation’s Phase III s.319 Non-point Source Pollution Grant volunteer match requirements under the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) grant award.

Manchaug Pond is a scenic 380 acre community natural resource located in Sutton and Douglas. Manchaug Pond Foundation looks to improve the water quality with annual spring and fall cleanups, monitoring and testing, watershed conservation, and through the education of watershed residents, lake visitors and campers. As a 501(c)(3) all volunteer non-profit public charity dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of this great pond of the Commonwealth, we focus on initiatives and programs addressing water quality, boating safety, water level/dam, aquatic invasive plants, watershed conservation, and more. A display highlighting the work of our s319 Non-Point Source Pollution grant and educational information for residents, lake users and hobby farmers will be offered the day of the cleanup. As all of us live in a watershed, additional resources for educators, students, lake visitors, residents and hobby farmers are also available at the Foundation’s website or at the MassDEP Massachusetts Clean Water Toolkit at



This project has been financed with Federal Funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (the Department) under an s. 319 competitive grant. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of EPA or of the Department, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.