2005 Annual Report

Annual Report 2005 Martins Pond Association
c/o North Reading Town Hall
235 North St
North Reading MA 01864 Contacts:
Lida Jenney
or
Janet Nicosia

2005 Annual Report of the Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee and the Martins Pond Association

Members:

The town-appointed Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee members are: Janet Nicosia, Lida Jenney, Paul Cameron, Scott Ronco and Larry Soucie. There is room for two associate members. The Martins Pond Association has no official appointed committee, but has many active participants. In addition to those listed above, the following people are key members of the Association in planning and orchestrating events and fundraising: Cathy Bakinowski, Bob Burg, Harvey Card, Julie Colton, Joyce Davis, Nicole Davis, Kath Geoffrion-Scannell, Julie Knight, Lori Lynes and Michael Scannell. Many others work at events throughout the year. Michael Scannell continues to serve on the Wastewater Planning Advisory Committee as the Martins Pond Association representative.

Workshops/Conferences Attended:

Janet attended a fundraising workshop by the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund in May 2005, and attended the New England Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society Annual Meeting in June 2005. We receive newsletters and are in contact with the Ipswich River Watershed Association, the Headwaters Stream Team, and the Massachusetts Congress of Lakes and Ponds.

Grants and Other Funds:

In early September 2004, the state legislature passed a Supplemental Appropriations Act for FY’05. The bill committed $300,000 in state funds for the Martins Pond Remediation Project. 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 funds were transferred to the Town of North Reading in January 2005. Project goals achieved during 2005 under this project include:

  • Implementation of a weed harvesting program at Martins Pond for invasive species removal.
  • Purchase and installation of a handicapped accessible docking system at Clarke Park.
  • Held a public meeting in March with beaver expert Mike Callahan to discuss beaver problems and solutions.
  • Creation of a beaver management plan for town-wide prioritization of beaver problems
  • Caged the problematic culvert at the route 62 bridge.
  • Met with both Conservation and Board of Health, and provided each with a manual of beaver history, problems and solutions. Provided a copy of the manual for other towns’ viewing. This information is being put on CD.
  • Initiated a storm drain-stenciling program, to inform and educate about stormwater pollution. Teamed with the North Reading Wastewater and Stormwater Committee. Teams of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts stenciled, viewed an educational video “After the Storm,” and received T shirts for their efforts.
  • Held a stormwater education booth at the barbeque series in North Reading in August 2005, giving out Frisbees and water bottles depicting the logo “Sharing the Water, Sharing the Responsibility”.
  • Ran a series of advertisements in the Transcript in April and May to educate the public about stormwater and septic issues.
  • Redesigned our website, changing servers so we could expand our information abilities and adding a blog.
  • Merrimack College is still working on many tasks under this project, including bi-weekly water testing, watershed modeling, and has completed a first draft of a Diagnostic Feasibility Study which will include information gathered through March 2006. The study is searching for reasons for water quality impairments in the pond.

In May we applied for a 319 DEP Non Point Source Pollution Grant to make improvements to the Martins Pond Watershed. The main focus of this application was shoreline restoration and outfall improvements. The 319 application was later denied, however, we continue to meet with DEP to formulate a new 2006 application.

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 one more year 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. Under the above funding, we were able to purchase and supply water testing equipment to further aid Merrimack College in studying the pond and watershed. Merrimack College has committed to continue these services, with or without additional funding, for the next 2 years.

Volunteers from the Martins Pond neighborhood and Merrimack College raised and released Galerucella beetles into the wetlands south of Martins Pond for the third time this spring. Results will be explained in the coming Diagnostic Feasibility Study, but the results are very promising. One of the three locations is showing impact, and we will continue this program going forward.

After working with the Town’s Board of Health and Conservation Commission, we successfully breached a beaver dam in Martins Brook adjacent to the J.T. Berry property. This dam was approximately 100 yards across and was holding up over a foot of water. The breach was done with volunteers from the community.

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. 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. The summer of 2005 was extremely dry, and we experienced water levels a foot lower than usual.

We distributed environmental information, including supplying the Community Planning Commission with “Getting to Smarter Growth” and supplying the Conservation Commission with “More Than Just a Yard-Ecological Landscaping Tools for Massachusetts Homeowners.” Janet and Scott also helped a new shoreline resident design a shoreline restoration plan, after he was given a Conservation violation for removing shoreline trees. We continue to watch developments and advocate environmentally friendly natural landscaping. We sold zero phosphate detergent at our events.

MPA Events/Fundraisers:

12th Annual Winter Festival – Sunday, February 5

8th Annual Fishing Derby – Saturday, July 9

11th Annual Children’s Haunted Playground – Saturday, October 22

Ongoing Fundraiser – Year Round
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:

As mentioned above, a handicapped accessible dock was added to the park. On November 5th we dedicated a tree to honor long time volunteer Fran Mitchell and held a ceremony. We had a message board installed at the boat ramp and filled it with environmental information, informing boaters about the dangers of invasive species.

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