Supplementary Funding Projects Underway!

Greetings! Here’s a good update of what’s going on lately…A LOT.
The Martins Pond Assessment and Remediation Project is now well underway.  You can see the new dock which will be in the pond this summer at the Park.  We cannot install it until the walkways are in and the permit is obtained, but you’ll agree it will be a great addition.  It will be ADA wheelchair accessible, one of our goals for all of the park.
Several years of Fanwort weed harvesting will begin this summer.  This will be a limited project to control the weeds without heavily impacting fish habitat.  Harvesting will take place after early summer spawning, and hopefully will improve habitat for many species which can become entangled in the heavy growth of weeds we’ve seen lately.  Merrimack will be studying the effectiveness of the harvesting and whether the cutting back may allow more native species to regain ground.
Merrimack will continue water testing and is in the process of completing a hyrological model of the entire Martins Pond Watershed, which means all the land that contributes water to Martins Pond.  By getting a model, and plugging in the water testing being done at over a dozen locations in the watershed every 2 weeks, we may be able to locate problem areas to target for water improvements.  Merrimack is doing a number of very exciting testing and analysis of the pond and watershed including flow, macrophyte surveys, DNA testing on bacteria to determine sources, groundwater testing in the wetlands to determine sources of Phosphorous among many others.
Speaking of water quality, we’ve teamed up with Denise Conry and the Waste Water/Stormwater Committee in an outreach campaign on how YOU can improve water quality in our area by your own actions.  Advertisements in the Transcript are teaching (hopefully) residents how they impact water quality. A storm drain stenciling project is also starting this spring to further drive home the impact of stormwater pollution.
A dozen volunteers as well as Dr.Jon Lyon and student Mike Horton of Merrimack helped pull Purple Loosestrife rootballs in April, and the plants are now growing at Merrimack. We will raise beetles again this year for our 3rd release in the wetlands, hoping to get control of the Loosestrife and bring back more native species in the wetland south of the pond.
Caging of the Rt 62 culvert is scheduled for this week.  Fencing is being placed around the bridge to stop the chronic problem of debris becoming lodged under the bridge, whether by chance or intentionally by our furry friends.  We continue to monitor beaver activity and had to trap again at  the dam we breached when a few newcomers tried to move in this spring.
Our website has been redesigned!  Lori of Hesperus Web Design, and Kath Geoffrion-Scannell are in charge of this part of the project. We still need to fill in some content and get photos up but the structure is done and is excellent I think you’ll agree. And it will only get better.
Thank you to the many of you who switched to Phosphorous-free detergents. We are planning to give away some soon to critical zone (within 300 feet) homes.
ALERT SHOREWATCH!  Quite a few homes have clear-cut along the pond in the past 12 months. Please be aware this is possibly illegal as any work within the buffer zone of a wetland, and a Pond IS considered a WET-LAND, is governed by Conservation.  Clear clear cutting and plant and tree removal promotes erosion and the filling in of Martins Pond, and it also removes vital habitat and shade which damages the wonderful natural landscape that makes Martins Pond so full of wildlife.  Don’t jeopardize the health of the pond for a view, always check with the Town Conservation Commission before any shoreline work.  Please notify new neighbors who may be unaware of the law.  Once a large tree is cut, it’s too late, and we’ve lost way too many already. 
On that note, many residents have shoreline walls which are plain falling into the pond.  Under Mass Waterways you may apply for a permit to put rip-rap in the water against your wall. It is an excellent way to improve shoreline habitat and keep your land from eroding right into the pond.  Rip-rap leaves cracks and crevices where fish can hide and has been mentioned at Lake meetings as a great solution to the problem of falling walls. We will try to address some of these issues in our next grant application.
No one does all this alone. Many volunteers are a part of the above projects: Paul Cameron, Lida Jenney, Larry Soucie, Scott Ronco, Lori Lynes, Julie Colton, Kath, Mike, Declan and Brigid Geoffrion-Scannell, Nancy Kelly, Denise Conry, John Mitchell, Denise Conry,  Nicole Davis, Lori Downs, Dr. Lyon and his students, and our great support at Town Hall by Mike Soraghan, Kim Honetschlager, Brian Wood and the Park & Rec staff, and Mary Trudeau and Conservation staff.  Many more I have not mentioned who come to the call when any help is needed, and this list does not include the festival planners and workers.
I think that brings you up to date for now. If you read this through to the end, you are a true friend.

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