2009 Annual Report

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

2009 Annual Report of the Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee and the Martins Pond Association

Members:

As of December 31, the town-appointed Martins Pond Reclamation Study Committee (MPRSC) members were: Janet Nicosia, Lida Jenney, Paul Cameron, Kath Geoffrion Scannell, Larry Soucie, and Lori Lynes. The Martins Pond Association (MPA) has no official appointed committee, but has many active participants. Mary Jane Hallahan plays a major role as food concession coordinator and Al “Hobbit” Walker maintains our powerful email distribution list server. Martins Pond Association events and efforts would not be a success without the consistent commitment of dozens of community volunteers too numerous to name individually. Many of whom come from other parts of North Reading.

Liaisons

Our Board of Selectmen liaison is Sean Delaney and has attended meetings and offered excellent advice. Michael Scannell serves as liaison to the Wastewater Planning Advisory Committee. Many of our efforts are accomplished through the work of our DPW contact Town Engineer Mike Soraghan, P.E., Health Agent Martin Fair, North Reading Parks & Recreation Marty Tilton and Maureen Stevens and their staff, and the cooperation and support of Conservation, Planning and Finance offices. The Neighborhood Watch program works in cooperation with Lieutenant Kevin Brennan, Detective Tom Romeo, and others of the North Reading Police.

Affiliations/Awards

  • Membership with the Massachusetts Congress of Lake and Pond Associations (MA COLAP)
  • Members/supporters of the Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) – both financially and by our environmental work. Met with IRWA president about current and future projects in April 2009.
  • Received 2009 Environmental Leadership Award from IRWA “in recognition of our tremendous contributions toward the protection of the Ipswich River” at IRWA Annual Meeting in September.

Workshops/Conferences Attended:

Janet, Lori and Larry attended the MA COLAP annual workshop in January 2009.

Collaborative Projects

During 2009, the MPRSC and Martins Pond Association (MPA) partnered with the Town of North Reading and Dr. Jon Lyon, Biology Professor at Merrimack College in the following projects to improve Martins Pond and its watershed.

A. Successful Purple Loosestrife Biological Control Project
From 2002-2009, we worked on a Massachusetts Wetlands Restoration Program to reduce the occurrence of purple loosestrife (a non-native and invasive species) in the wetlands south of Martins Pond along Martins Brook using Galerucella beetles. Beetles, raised in greenhouses at Merrimack College, were released at three designated release sites six times over the seven year period with the most recent being in 2008. In 2009, the dispersion of beetles within a 3 km radius of the three release sites was determined. A final report submitted in August 2009 by Dr. Jon Lyon showed that, overall, the biocontrol project was successful in meeting the goal in reducing the abundance of purple loosestrife in areas it had invaded to approximately 10% of its pre-control levels over about 90% of its range. This was true for 2 of the 3 sampling sites and in other areas where the beetles migrated. No further releases are needed at this time. Dr. Lyon recommended continued surveying and field mapping of wetland vegetation for the next 1-3 years.

B. Annual Plant Survey of Martins Pond
Dr. Lyon completed the 4th annual plant survey of Martins Pond. The good news was that the invasive plant fanwort that we have appears to be contained and is not heavily encroaching on the pond. The bad news is he found a very dangerous invasive plant called water chestnut that is new to the pond. Janet reported the occurrence of the water chestnut to DEP, DCR, and IRWA. Neighbor/volunteer Walter Kittredge hand pulled all visible plants and will continue to monitor the pond.

C. Martins Pond Shoreline Restoration and Sedimentation Reduction Project
We continued to work on the Chapter s. 319 Non Point Source Pollution Grant funded through Mass DEP. During 2009, we completed the shoreline restoration of all remaining targeted shoreline locations around Martin’s Pond, including coir roll erosion controls, and seeding plus the installation of a rain garden on Travelled Way. All but one of the sites was planted as well. We will revisit sites in spring of 2010 for a final planting and seeding. Informational signs were designed for several locations around the pond.

D. North Reading Stormwater Infiltration Project: Reaching Out to Address Runoff (ROAR)
The State Department of Environmental Protection has recommended the town be funded a $190,500 federal grant for this project to help fund stormwater infiltration to protect the Ipswich River watershed from non-point source pollution. The grant has 4 components: 1) infiltration of roadway runoff and sediment reduction at North Street near the intersection with Central Street, 2) a town center and town-wide rain garden program, 3) a rain garden and swale at the Hood School and 4) outreach and education via media.

Other Projects to Improve the Pond/Community/Watershed

A. Flooding
Volunteers continue to read USGS stream gauges weekly to track water levels in the pond and its watershed area. The results underscore the need for replacement of the aging and undersized culverts at Rt. 62 and within Benevento’s business property. Association members attended many Wilmington Conservation Committee meetings in support of Benevento’s replacement of his undersized culvert and road lowering. Due to considerable opposition, the new culvert was withdrawn for redesign, but the road lowering was approved to restore the flooding spillway in Benevento’s to conditions prior to its unauthorized alteration in 2004. As of this writing, the lowering has not begun and Benevento’s is under order to do so immediately. The quest to replace the Route 62 bridge is ongoing, and in support of Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the US Flood Emergency Management Agency’s consideration of funding such a project under previous grant project requests by Town Engineer Mike Soraghan P. E., we met with MEMA and FEMA in August 2009, and conducted a flood damage survey of Martins Pond neighbors via our website and analyzed State flood insurance records. According to available State records, the Town of North Reading residents have received $607,796 in claims due to flooding. 70.26% of these claims, or $427,037 was paid out to the Martins Pond community. Looking at only the period of 2001 to 6/30/09, the dollar amount of insurance claims paid to the Martins Pond community was $342,766, and according to our survey, during that period they incurred an additional $218,294 in damages that were not covered by insurance. MEMA and FEMA continue to work with North Reading DPW toward funding the Route 62 bridge replacement and discussions are ongoing.

B. Beavers
Beaver trapping continues under emergency permitting and in-season trapping. The Town has been very proactive and successful in controlling the impact of beavers in locations where they cannot be tolerated. Unfortunately, the proliferation of the beaver in Massachusetts and their ability to repopulate suitable locations results in chronic issues in old areas, and the discovery of new. Trapping and dam removal was successful in Martins Brook – no tolerance zone – only to have a new population of beaver arrive this year build another dam, and move in to other locations around Martin’s Pond. Trapping is a difficult issue and surrounding towns are experiencing the same issues. Unfortunately, the protection of public property and groundwater separation to ensure a minimal wastewater treatment is critical in this low lying neighborhood – developed when water levels were 3-4 feet lower and beavers were extinct.

C. Crime Watch Group
This was the 2nd year of the crime watch group. The group meets periodically to discuss problems and possible solutions with the North Reading Police. This year about 20 residents ordered customized speed watch signs for placement in their yard. We also had crime watch signs installed on sign posts around the pond area and on Rt. 28 near the Andover line. We continue to work closely to report suspicious activities to the police. The neighborhood group can communicate any crime issues quickly via email communication. The face to face communication with police is very valuable, building a sense of trust, and gathering information on problem areas.

MPA Events/Fundraisers:

16th Annual Winter Festival (Saturday, Feb. 7)

History of Martins Pond Presentation (Friday, March 6) – given at the Senior Center on behalf of the North Reading Historical and Antiquarian Society

12th Annual Fishing Derby (Saturday, July 11) – best catch by Mike Woods, 3.52 lb. bass

Pops Concert at Clarke Park with N. Reading Community Band (Thurs., July 16)

Drop-in Volleyball program for girls grades 5-8 on Tuesday evenings in the summer (joint effort by the MPA and N.R. Youth Volleyball) – free to girls, but donations received covered field usage costs

15th Annual Children’s Haunted Playground (Saturday, Oct. 17)

New T-shirts designed with pond and wildlife design, available for sale @ $15/each.

Bottle deposits to benefit MPA – drop off your returnable bottles and cans to the N.E. Beverage and Redemption Center anytime and request the money go to the Martins Pond account.

Acquisitions/Improvements Made:

  • Painting Day (Sat. May 16) – volunteers made necessary repairs and painted wooden play equipment in primary colors and stained the picnic tables, tot swings, shelters, etc.
  • Repairs made to park pavilion roof and siding
  • Electric upgrade added to storage building and pavilion
  • Solar powered security lights added to pavilion roof

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