2004 Annual Report

Annual Report 2004 Martins Pond Association
c/o North Reading Town Hall
235 North St
North Reading MA 01864 Contacts:
Lida Jenney
or
Janet Nicosia

2004 Annual Report of the Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee and the Martins Pond Association

Members:

At the end of 2004, Janet Nicosia, Lida Jenney, Scott Ronco, Paul Cameron and Larry Soucie were members. During the year, we lost two members (Ann O’Hearn and Missy Correlle), but we gained two more (Paul and Larry). These new members have been involved all along, but are now in an official capacity. There is room for two associate members. Michael Scannell continues to serve on the Wastewater Planning Advisory Committee as the Martins Pond Association representative.

Workshops/Conferences Attended:

Lida, Janet and Missy attended the 17th Annual Lake and Pond Management Workshop in January in Leicester, MA where we learn and share information with other pond abutters. We pass on information we learn through newsletters via our email distribution list, events, and our website.

Grants and Other Funds:

We completed our New England Grassroots Environmental Fund grant ($2,000 awarded in 2003) with an environmental advertisement in the North Reading Transcript in June about conserving water in the Ipswich River. We submitted the final report to NEGEF.

In May we applied for a 319 DEP Non Point Source Pollution Grant to make improvements to the Martins Pond Watershed. We had several meetings with Dr. Lyon, Professor at Merrimack College and DEP in Worcester about Martins Pond. In April and May, we examined and inspected the outfalls in Martins Pond Watershed in North Reading and Andover as part of the investigations for this and future proposals. With the help of Merrimack College, we updated the Lakes and Ponds Report for the 319 grant application. The 319 application was later denied, however, Dr. Lyon continues to meet with DEP to formulate a new 2005 application.

In early September, the state legislature passed a Supplemental Appropriations Act for FY’04. The bill committed $300,000 in state funds for the Martins Pond Remediation Project. We met with State Senator Bruce Tarr and the DEP to discuss the use of the funds. We formed a team consisting of the Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee, Dr. Jon Lyon (Merrimack College), Mike Soraghan (Town Engineer), and Malcolm Pirnie Engineers. We submitted and received approval for a large scope of work to be accomplished under the Project. The scope includes: weed harvester purchase, more hydro raking of the pond’s clogged outflow (Martins Brook), culvert cleaning at Martins Pond outlet and at Rt. 62 bridge (add caging to divert debris), handicapped dock purchase and installation at town beach, mapping of pond vegetation prior to harvesting, in-pond pilot studies using alum and herbicide in small contained area, hydrological modeling of the watershed, and wetland delineation. In addition, the scope includes the purchase of water flow meters and other water testing equipment, DNA sampling of bacteria, continuation of the Purple Loosestrife control program with Merrimack College, the purchase of GPS units, ArcGIS software and two computers to manage the water quality data and GIS data. These will be utilized by Merrimack College to monitor the pond area for our benefit.
The scope also includes a town-wide assessment for beaver activity, prioritization and solutions, public meetings, website redesign, advertisements, public education, outreach and more.

We applied for the Mass. Environmental Trust grant in 2003 but were denied this year.

We still have $300,000 from the Environmental Bond Fund (created in August 2002) earmarked for projects that will benefit Martins Pond or Martins Brook. We still have two more years to try to access this money, which must still be applied for with a proposal.

Other Projects to Improve the Pond/Watershed:

Merrimack College continued its ongoing studies of Martins Pond including doing bi-weekly sampling and water testing at no cost to the town. The students gain valuable experience and our town benefits.

Pond area resident volunteers continue to read USGS gauges weekly to track water levels in the pond and it’s watershed area. The nine gauges record the water levels in feet above sea level so we can monitor for potential flooding problems. When our surrounding wetlands are so saturated as they have been recently, there is little absorption capacity. With the gauge data, we can see how water builds up above the blocked channel causing potential flooding of Burroughs Road and some homes at lower elevations.

We worked with the DPW and Conservation to implement a better policy on controlling beavers. We created a beaver manual with a compilation of rules, regulations, and information, permit forms, and sample beaver control estimates. We hope to get the town to fund annual trapping for problem areas in town. In May 2004, a beaver deceiver was installed in a dam near Fieldcrest Terrace. This is essentially a pipe which channels water under and through a dam. This area had been breached and trapped in the past and the deceiver was a more permanent solution.

In January, Conservation approved a demonstration project to hydro rake about 500 feet of Martins Brook. The brook was hydro raked about 500 feet down from the Burroughs Road Bridge and 10-20 feet wide to remove the overabundance of vegetation (mostly Purple Loosestrife root balls) that clogged outflow of the pond. A continuation of this project is planned for 2005.

The pond area experienced flooding in April and we were in touch with various North Reading town departments (school, fire, conservation) regarding issues of health and safety. We also contact Wilmington requesting they remove their weir boards downstream to help us lower water levels. Discussions have been initiated with the town of Wilmington to establish a policy on the use of the weir boards, especially their removal during high water times of the year.

In April we visited two horse farms in our watershed to discuss manure management. We gave each farm a packet on “Best Management Practices” to keep manure from ending up in streams adjacent to farms. We had several meetings with the Hillview Commission regarding reducing Phosphorous used in golf course fertilizer. We assisted with the Hillview Road neighborhood petition to have the road improved to curb the outflow of sediment into the Skug River.

In December we initiated a Phosphorous Reduction Program. We passed out flyers to houses within 300 feet of Martins Pond urging residents to switch to Phosphorous-free dishwasher detergent. Martins Pond has extremely high levels of Phosphorous (P) as discovered in recent studies. Just as P stimulates growth in lawn fertilizer, P in the pond has resulted in the rapid growth of aquatic plants and algae blooms. To further encourage residents to do this, we are offering a refund of $1/box with each submittal form and box top used within 2005.

MPA Events/Fundraisers:

11th Annual Winter Festival – Sunday, February 8th, 2004

Town of North Reading Memorial Day Parade – Monday, May 31
The MPA prepared a “float” with the theme “Great American Melting Pot” showcasing Americans with heritage from countries all over the world.

7th Annual Fishing Derby – Saturday, July 10
with special guest Charlie Moore
Note: We did not have our annual Summer Festival along with the fishing derby this year.

10th Annual Children’s Haunted Playground – Saturday, October 23

Library benefit “Every Tree Tells a Story” – December 2004
MPA members donated a decorated tree with “Angelina Skates” as the theme.

Ongoing Fundraiser
Bottle deposits to benefit MPA – Drop off your returnable bottles and cans to N.E. Beverage and Redemption Center any time and request the money go to the Martins Pond account.

Acquisitions/Improvements Made at Clarke Park and the Boat Ramp:

We purchased new picnic tables for the park jointly with Park and Recreation. We received a donation of another large tent that was used at our festivals. In December we had a new signboard installed by the boat ramp at Batchelder Avenue to post pond related information.

To learn more about the Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee and the Martins Pond Association, visit our web site: www.martinspond.org.

Respectfully submitted,

Lida Jenney and Janet Nicosia

Martins Pond Committee and Association