SPY POND MEETINGS 1999
Tuesday, February 9, 7:30 PM, Town Hall Annex, 2nd floor conference room.
Tuesday, March 9, 7:30 PM, Town Hall Annex, 2nd floor conference room.
Wednesday, April 7, 7:30 PM, Town Hall Annex, 2nd floor conference room.
Tuesday, May 11, 7:30 PM, Town Hall Annex, 2nd floor conference room.
Tuesday, June 8, 7:30 PM, Town Hall Annex, 2nd floor conference room.
SPY POND MEETING NOTES
12 May 1998, 9 June 1998, 26 June 1998, 15 July 1998, 9 September 1998, 7 October 1998, 10 November 1998, 9 December 1998,
MAY 12, 1998 MEETING NOTES
In attendance: Eugene Benson, Bill Cote, Karen Donoghue, Jean Griffin, Karsten Hartel, Robert Havern, Jane Howard, Vivian Kalber, Elizabeth Karpati, Adrienne Landry, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Alan McClennen, Amy Meblin, Anne Paulsen, Stroker Rogovin, Charles Simas, Dick Terry. The meeting was facilitated by Karsten Hartel.
Senator Robert Havern reported that the budget amendment introduced in the State House of Representatives by Representatives Jim Marzilli and Anne Paulsen to provide $135,000 for Spy Pond had passed the House. It was one of the very few outside sections of the budget to pass the House. Under the budget amendment, funds would go to the Town to be used to clean the sandbar out of the Pond and for related other uses. Senator Havern explained that now that the budget has passed the House, the Senate will create its own budget. He will try to duplicate the Spy Pond budget amendment in the Senate budget. If the amendment passes the Senate in the same wording and amount as it was in the House budget, it does not go to conference committee. If, however, it does not pass the Senate, or it passes the Senate with different wording or a different amount, it will go to a conference committee between the Senate and House. He said we should know by June 15 whether it has become part of the state budget for the year. We thanked Senator Havern for the work he would do for the Pond. He then had to leave the meeting for another engagement.
Representative Paulsen arrived later from another engagement and briefed us on how she and Representative Marzilli had succeeded in having the House adopt the budget amendment. The committee thanked her and Representative Marzilli.
Jane Howard reported that Town Meeting adopted our warrant article for goals for Spy Pond with only one negative vote. We thanked Jane, Amy Meblin, and Bill Eykamp for their presentation to Town Meeting and Tom Lisco for his map of the Spy Pond watershed that was used at Town Meeting. Alan McClennen noted that we need to remember that the Town has adopted the goals and we should highlight them in materials we produce.
Alan McClennen reported that he had not yet heard of the status of our grant application by John Durant for state funds for a water and sediment monitoring program.
Elizabeth Karpati distributed a draft plan for the June 20 Spy Pond clean-up day and we discussed various options. We decided that a subcommittee should meet to work on the remaining issues for the clean-up. Karsten Hartel offered to host the meeting at his house on May 19.
Gene Benson distributed a draft done by Leila Sussman that was a categorization of the technical needs document Bill Eykamp had distributed at a previous meeting. We noted that we still need to have a meeting of the subcommittee on technical needs. We again identified the need for Pond water monitoring.
We discussed that most of the watershed area had received this year's flyer about the Pond. A few areas had not yet been distributed. A few more persons volunteered. Gene Benson said he would draft an article for the Advocate to remind people about fertilizer use and the Pond, perhaps in the same article that announced the Pond clean-up.
Amy Meblin announced that the Cambridge Water Department would be holding a tour of the Cambridge reservoir on June 2 at 6 PM and gave information on how to register for the tour.
Betsy Leondar-Wright showed some do not feed the geese signs that the Friends of Spy Pond Park had created to use in the park. The committee thought the signs looked good. Betsy also discussed that the theater piece about the Pond is moving forward. Contact her if you would like to volunteer in that effort.
Elizabeth Karpati discussed the Spy Pond web page. She sent it to the student at Tufts who will post it on the Tufts Mystic River homepage. Tufts was having some software problems and the page was not yet posted.
Notes by Eugene B. Benson
JUNE 9, 1998, MEETING NOTES
In attendance: Eugene Benson, Judi Berman, Susan Brent, Bill Cote, Karen Donoghue, Bill Eykamp, Jean Griffin, Karsten Hartel, Robert Havern, Jane Howard, Liz Karagianis, Elizabeth Karpati, Adrienne Landry, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Tom Lisco, Alan McClennen, Amy Meblin, Marcia Moyer, Bob Noyes, Doris Powell, Stroker Rogovin, Charles Simas. The meeting was facilitated by Karsten Hartel.
Karsten reported that the grant application submitted by John Durant for sampling at the Pond and Alewife Brook was not funded by the Riverways Program. John thinks that is because the Pond and Alewife Brook did not rank high enough on the criteria set by the state for the grant.
Karsten reported that the technical needs subcommittee will meet on June 14. He also noted that Gene Benson will be make a presentation about Spy Pond to about 50 eighth graders at the Ottoson Middle School on June 10.
Jane Howard reported on two Vision 2020 upcoming events: 1) a visitor from South Africa who is touring the US meeting with citizen involvement groups that empower persons to work through the system found 2020 on the internet and will be in Arlington on June 11 to meet with 2020 participants; 2) the annual Vision 2020 volunteer recognition event will be on June 17 at the Whittemore Robbins House at 7:30 PM. All members of our committee are invited to attend. The Spy Pond Goals will be displayed at the meeting.
Amy Meblin reported that she had spoken to the lawn service company used by her neighbor and learned that the lawn service applies "tripower" to lawns. Tripower consists of water, fertilizer, and herbicide. The phosphorus in the fertilizer is at 6.5. The decision on the fertilizer is made by a technical person for the lawn service in Albany, NY. It appears to be a "one size fits all" approach to lawn care. Amy will call the person in Albany and report back to us on that conversation. She will also send the person a copy of our leaflet about the affect of fertilizer on the Pond. We thanked Amy for working on that. We discussed other approaches, including an article in the Advocate so that persons would request different fertilizer from their lawn service company.
Alan McClennen reported that the Park&Recreation Commission had done a first draft of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire a consultant to make recommendations for the Pond's shoreline at the Spy Pond Park playground. There is $10,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds allocated for the consultant work. The consultant will look at this piece of the shoreline as an example for all parts of the Pond where there is much human traffic and will identify and discusst shoreline stabilization solutions. Alan hopes a result of the work will be that the Town will have a better understanding of the options available for shoreline stabilization whenever it designs activities at the shoreline. Committee members noted the following: 1) a vegetative solution depends on the level of the Pond; 2) it is unclear how much erosion is from human use and how much from wave action of the Pond and surface water runoff into the Pond; 3) shoreline plantings that were done when the Park was redone were not watered the first summer, a dry summer, and many did not survive. A planting maintenance plan is required; 4) when the Park was redone, the paths were redone, but the shoreline was not stabilized due to lack of funds; 5) the Conservation Commission would like to see the RFP and suggests reviewing what was required in the Order of Conditions when the Pond was redone; 6) the pit behind the retaining timbers should be reported to the Conservation Commission and Department of Public Works as a hazard so that it can be filled in under emergency powers.
Judi Berman suggested the need to stencil storm drains so they are not used for disposal. She reported that storm drain stenciling has been done by elementary school children in Watertown to help protect the Charles River. We discussed options on how to overcome the objection of the Town Manager. We will look for the artwork we had done the last time we raised the issue and members of the committee will speak with influential persons in Town about the matter.
Elizabeth Karpati and Susan Brent discussed the plan for the June 20 Spy Pond clean up day. We agreed on three meeting sites: Linwood Road at the Park entrance; Rt. 2 and Lake St; and Rt. 2 and Pleasant Street -- meet by 9 AM. We chose one of the draft posters. Jane will have copies made of the poster and some volunteered to post and hand deliver some posters. Bring gloves and rakes if you have them. Wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt because we will likely encounter some poison ivy at the pathway between the Pond and Rt. 2. Tell other persons about the clean up and encourage them to take part.
Senator Havern reported that there will be $130,000 in the state budget for Spy Pond because there is a consensus in the State Senate to provide it for the Pond (it already passed the State House of Representatives). The Highway Department has told him that it will use some of the funds to remove the "Rt. 2 sandbar" this summer. Senator Havern thinks the Pond may need a dedicated revenue stream. He suggested that we may have the Highway Department clean out the sandbar this year and in later years do other work. During the budget process, Senator Havern met with representatives of the Highway Department about the Pond. Representatives of the Highway Department would like to meet with our committee to discuss options; they may not favor a grit chamber for the storm drain from Rt. 2. Senator Havern will ask Highway Department officals to attend our July meeting to discuss their view of what they should do. Senator Havern also complimented the work done by Representatives Marzilli and Paulsen to get the funding through the House of Representatives. We thanked Senator Havern for his efforts.
We agreed that our committee will have a special meeting on June 24 to prepare for the July meeting with the Highway Department officials. At the June 24 meeting, we will review the options available for use of the $130,000, recognizing that the work will need to be related to Rt. 2's impact on the Pond because the funds will be in the Highway Department budget.
Betsy Leondar-Wright reported on activities of Friends of Spy Pond Park: 1) They will paint the picnic tables and benches in the park. On 6/16 they will scrape and on 6/23 and 6/30 they paint -- all between 7 PM and 8 PM. Join them for the event if you would like to help. 2) The don't feed the geese stickers are ready. 3) They will build two bulletin boards in the park. 4) The theatre piece is moving forward. They hired Underground Theatre to help with the script and the giant puppet. They have two more workshops to work on the script and the puppet. They have raised about $2,500 so far and need about another $1,000. They think it will be ready to be performed this August. Call Betsy if you would like to help with the script, the puppet, or other aspects.
Bill Eykamp reported on an upcoming June 27 training session on Lakes and Ponds, to be held in Durham, NH. The cost is $25. Bill went in a previous year and said he learned quite a bit about lakes and ponds. Bill has all the info on the training session. Call him at 646-3320 if you are interested in attending the session. Also call him if you would like to help with the sattelite flyover program.
JUNE 26, 1998, MEETING NOTES
In attendance: Eugene Benson, Susan Brent, Ann Cella, Augustino Cella, Joseph Cella, Steven Cella, Bill Eykamp, Jean Griffin, Jane Howard, Vivian Kalber, Liz Karagianis, Elizabeth Karpati, Adrienne Landry, Tom Lisco, Jim Marzilli, Anne Paulsen, Charles Simas. The meeting was facilitated by Eugene Benson.
The main purpose of this, the second meeting in June, was to discuss options for use of the $130,000 for Spy Pond that is proposed to be in the Highway Department part of state budget, and to prepare for our July meeting with Senator Havern and representatives of the Highway Department. The Committee discussed that the purpose of the funds in the Highway Department budget was to ameliorate the harm caused to Spy Pond by Route 2, specifically from the storm drain that empties into the southwest corner of the Pond from Rt. 2. The Committee discussed various options for uses of the funds. Gene Benson distributed materials he received from a firm called Vortechnics that engineers storm water treatment systems. The Town installed a Vortechnics storm water treatment system in Menotomy Rocks Park during the Hills Pond dredging process a few years ago.
The Committee determined to continue with the course previously taken: the funds should be used to remove the sandbar that has formed in the southwest corner of the Pond adjacent to the Rt. 2 storm drain and to install a storm water treatment system on that storm drain that will remove sediments and other debris before they empty into the Pond. The Committee recognized that the Highway Department will have to clean the storm water treatment system periodically so that it functions efficiently.
The Committee decided that it would be helpful for a subcommittee of the Committee to meet with Senator Havern before the meeting on July to prepare for the July meeting with Highway Department representatives. The Committee wanted to be certain that the Senator knew the position of the Committee and understood why the Committee had decided that the $130,000 should be used to remove the sand bar and install a storm water treatment system. Jane Howard agreed to contact Senator Havern's office to request the meeting. Gene Benson asked Committee members to let him know if they are interested in attending the meeting with Senator Havern.
The Committee also noted that the budget, with funds earmarked for Spy Pond, has not yet passed the State Senate (it passed the House of Representatives with money earmarked for the Pond due to the hard work of Representatives Paulsen and Marzilli). Representative Paulsen agreed to let the Committee know the status of the budget. If it passes with money in it for Spy Pond, we decided we would write letters to the Governor to urge him to sign the budget to help protect Spy Pond (because he can veto the Spy Pond line item). Gene Benson agreed to draft a suggested letter that Committee members could use; Tom Lisco agreed to assist Gene.
We also discussed that even if the budget, with $130,00 earmarked for Spy Pond, becomes law, we may have work to do to make sure the Pond benefits. This is important because the money can be earmarked in the budget but not spent. Thus, the July meeting with the Highway Department is an important step.
Ann, Augustino, Joseph, and Steven Cella showed a home movie video, part taken in the 1960's and part taken recently, that shows that the level of the water in the Pond was lower in the 1960's than it has been for the past few years. The video shows how high the water rose during the recent rain storms. The Cellas will continue to document the Pond level on their property, which abuts the Pond from Spy Pond Parkway.
The Committee then discussed the status of the proposal to have the Highway Department lower the Pond water level by removing a board from the outlet structure of the Pond. We decided that the meeting with the Highway Department on July should focus on the use of the $130,000 in the state budget for Spy Pond and not on the Pond level. The Committee agreed to form a subcommittee to meet with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to understand what DEP requires before the level of the Pond may be lowered. Once we have that understanding, we will then be in a better position to determine strategy for our next steps. The subcommittee consists of Susan Brent, Bill Eykamp. Tom Lisco, and Anne Paulsen. They will arrange to meet with the DEP in August. We also agreed that it is necessary to keep the Town of Belmont informed of the matter and to make sure the Belmont Town Administrator and Engineer know of the progress of our proposal. Jane Howard will add them to our mailing list. Tom Lisco and Susan Brent pointed out that the proposal has been received favorably by the Belmont Conservation Commission.
Notes by Eugene B. Benson
JULY_15, 1998, MEETING NOTES
In attendance: Eugene Benson, Susan Brent, Stephen Cella, Bill Eykamp, Jean
Griffin, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Adrienne Landry, Tom Lisco, Rep. Jim
Marzilli, Alan McClennen, Bob Noyes, Charles Simas, Dick Terry.
Guests: Senator Robert Havern, Tom Banks, George Laite, Mark Shea (Arlington
Department of Public Works), Eric Botterman (Mass. Highway Dept.).
The meeting was facilitated by Gene Benson.
1. State Budget. Senator Havern spoke about the $130,000 in the state budget
for Spy Pond. He noted that Representatives Anne Paulsen and Jim Marzilli did
much hard work to get the funds in the budget passed by the House of
Representatives and sent to the State Senate. He anticipates the funds will
also be in the budget passed by the Senate. The $130,000 will be earmarked in
the budget of the Mass. Highway Department to remove the sandbar at the
southwest corner of the Pond (Rt. 2 and Pleasant St. corner) that has been
deposited by the storm drain from Rt. 2 and to take other measures to reduce
further deposits of sand in the Pond from Rt. 2.
Eric Botterman, Superintendent of District 4, Mass. Highway Dept. (MHD) spoke.
He said his research shows that MHD last removed the sandbar in the 1970's, so
a new sandbar has built up over the past 20-25 years. MHD has every intention
of removing the sandbar, estimates the cost of removal will be from $30,000 to
$100,000, and needs to determine what permits are required. MHD has also
added money to its contract to clean the Rt. 2 catch basins, which have been
cleaned once a year and will be cleaned more frequently. MHD also plans to
clean the pipe that drains Rt. 2 to the Pond. He also noted that MHD has many
crews that pick up litter along Rt. 2.
The Committee asked Mr. Botterman if MHD would put in a sandcatcher on the Rt.
2 drain to catch sand and floating debris before they enter the Pond. He said
MHD would not promise to add a device. The Committee gave Mr. Botterman
information about such a device that has been used in many places, including
Menotomy Rocks Park. He said other communities, including Rockport, have
asked MHD to install such devices, MHD refused to do so, and at least one of
the communities installed the device on its own. As to timing, Mr. Botterman
said he hoped to have the sandbar removed by this winter, depending on the
cost. By next summer he expects to have removed the sandbar, cleaned the
catch basins and pipes, and made a decision on adding a sandcatcher. The
decision on adding a sandcatcher will include the cost, maintenance, and
location for such a device. The Committee promised to telephone Mr. Botterman
after Labor Day for an update. Senator Havern noted the possibility of
getting more funds in a supplemental state budget if needed for the project.
2. Technical Subcommittee. Bill Eykamp reported for the Technical
Subcommittee. They hope to do a "budget" for the Pond: water (how it comes
and goes; how much); nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen); conductivity; and
coliform bacteria. They have a student volunteer for the summer and are doing
a bathymetric (depth) map of the Pond. An issue is how to get sampling and
analysis work done. Bill also spoke briefly of the satellite flyover project
to determine if the satellite can see the turbidity of the Pond. He also
asked if anyone knew of a well near Spy Pond because John Durant (Tufts,
working on sampling the Pond) would like to sample the well water. Susan
Brent said she would call Department of Environmental Protection to learn if
it has any information about wells in the area.
3. Town Day. We noted that Town Day is on Saturday, September 19, and we
will need to create a Spy Pond display for the Vision 2020 booth. Adrienne
Landry agreed to take the lead on that. Suggestions for the display were that
we focus on the solutions, emphasize our positive momentum, and use some of
the graphics in the consultant's report. We also talked about having a
handout or flyer to distribute at Town Day.
4. Other. Mark Shea explained that the Town would soon contract for turf
maintenance services throughout the Town, including on the fields near Spy
Pond. He distributed a copy of the Town's invitation to bid and asked that
comments be sent to Richard Bento, Arlington DPW Director.
Notes by Eugene B. Benson
Update from Gene: The state budget that was passed included $130,000 for Spy
Pond. The funds earmarked for Spy Pond, and other spending items, were vetoed
by Acting Governor Paul Cellucci, using his line item veto power. I spoke
with both Jim Marzilli and Bob Havern recently. Jim is leading the movement
in the State House of Representatives to convince the Speaker to call the
House back in session to override the vetoes and restore, among other items,
the funds for Spy Pond. Bob told me that if the House is called back and
overrides the vetoes, the Senate will come back and do likewise. It appears
the hold-up at this point is Speaker Thomas Finneran, who must call the House
back into session but has expressed a reluctance to do so. Perhaps by our
September 9 meeting, this will have been resolved.
SEPTEMBER 9, 1998, MEETING NOTES
In attendance: Eugene Benson, Frances Cameron, Bill Eykamp, Karsten Hartel, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Adrienne Landry, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Alan McClennen, Dick Terry, Sandy Vorce.
The meeting was facilitated by Karsten Hartel.
1. SANDBAR REMOVAL. Jane Howard reported that Senator Havern told her that the Highway Department had sent out bid requests for removal of the sandbar at the southwest corner of the Pond. Responses were due in late September. We wondered whether that would go forward now that Acting Governor Cellucci has vetoed the budget amount for Spy Pond. Gene Benson was asked to call Eric Botterman, the Highway Department District 4 Superintendent, about it.
2. 2000 BY 2000 PROJECT. Jane Howard reported about the 2000x2000 project (to plant 2000 native trees and bushes in Arlington by the year 2000). There has been some planting done and more planned -- and some corporate cash contributions. A town tree survey is taking place. Three teams are doing surveys of preselected blocks in three sections of Arlington to generate information on the age, health, and condition of the existing trees. That could lead to a plan for tree planting. Jane mentioned perhaps planting conifers at the edge of Rt. 2 as a buffer between the highway and the town. Bill Eykamp thought conifers were preferable to deciduous trees at Spy Pond because conifers generate fewer leaves that would enter the Pond.
3. FRIENDS OF SPY POND PARK. Betsy Leondar-Wright reported that with Town approval the Friends placed do not feed the geese signs on trash barrels in the park. The signs are on adhesive paper, but are being torn off the barrels. Betsy also reported that the Friends have performed the Spy Pond play in the Park about eight time during the summer. The play has been well received. The Friends are looking for other places to perform it such as schools and would like to perform it for our committee and the Park & Recreation Commission. Betsy discussed the problem of having a place to perform the play on Town Day; various options were discussed.
4. TOWN DAY PLANNING. We discussed the materials to have for our Town Day display. Adrienne Landry presented a draft of questions about Spy Pond handout she created; the committee made suggestions. Alan McClennen showed an aerial photo of the Pond, taken this summer, showing how green it had been; the photo will be part of the Town Day display. We discussed but decided not to distribute a North American Lakes Management Society brochure. Perhaps we will create a similar brochure about Spy Pond and other Town water resources.
5. WEED MAPPING. Bill Eykamp and Dick Terry mapped the weeds again this summer. Dick said they saw weeds in deeper water than in previous years; Bill said he thinks the milfoil was worse than in previous years. Bill is working on the bathymetry project and on the mathematical equation to show the downstream impact of removing one board from the Spy Pond outlet structure to lower the Pond water level.
6. OTHER. a) Alan McClennen reported that John Durant, Tufts, had done sediment and water quality sampling of the Pond this summer and will present the results at a public meeting at the Central School (Senior Center) on October 22 at 7:30 PM. Alan does not know the results of the study yet. b) We discussed the construction-type materials in the Pond. Betsy said they are about 28 steps into the water from the large "DO NOT" sign at one end of the Park. The town has not yet assessed what the materials are or what to do about them. We think they may be the remains an old structure from the days when ice was harvested from the Pond, but that they pose a safety hazard. c) We decided our next meeting should focus on future directions for the Committee -- what we should be doing to further our goals for the Pond. D) Marcia Moyer, who had been part of the Committee, has become ill and will be moving from Town. We agreed to have Jane send a card to Marcia.
7. MEETINGS. We agreed on our upcoming meeting dates and times (please remember to put these on your calendar):
Wednesday, December 9, 1998, 7:30 PM, Town Hall Annex, 2nd floor conference room.
Tuesday, January 12, 1999, 7:30 PM, Town Hall Annex, 2nd floor conference room.
Also, the Committee is encouraged to attend (and invite others to) the public meeting where John Durant will present the findings of his study of the sediment and water quality of the Pond. At the beginning of the meeting, the Friends of Spy Pond Park will perfrom the Spy Pond play. The meeting is:
Thursday, October 22, 1998, 7:30 PM, Central School (Senior Center), Maple Street
OCTOBER 7, 1998, MEETING NOTES
In attendance: James Battaglia, Eugene Benson, Rich Cahill, Frances Cameron, Steven Cella, John Durant, Bill Eykamp, Jean Griffin, Karsten Hartel, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Adrienne Landry, Tom Lisco, Grace Perez, Stroker Rogovin, Stew Sanders, David Senn, Charles Simas, Dick Terry. The meeting was facilitated by Karsten Hartel.
1. UPDATES. A) The Mystic River Watershed Association's annual meeting is on November 5 at 7 PM in the Arlington Senior Center, Maple Street. We are invited to attend to learn about activities in the Mystic Watershed and to meet other folks working on water related issues. At the meeting, we will give a 5-10 minute presentation about Spy Pond. B) The planned fish ladder between the Upper and Lower Mystic Lakes will not be built due to concerns that it might harm the dam or cause flooding. C) Tom Lisco reported that he was unaware of any progress with lowering the water level of the Pond since our last meeting. D) Jane Howard reported that the Highway Department had advertised for proposals to remove the sandbar in the Pond. Gene Benson needs to call Eric Botterman of the Highway Department to follow up. E) Our display and information at the Vision 2020 booth at Town Day was very well received. Many persons went away with a copy of our Spy Pond quiz. F) Bill Eykamp reported on the satellite flyover project. For much of the summer the Pond was eutrophic rather that hyper eutrophic for algae, probably because the weed amount was very high and the weeds and algae were competing for nutrients (and both thrived this summer). Bill reported that the Pond was not terminal this summer but was very bad. G) Dick Terry reported on the weed mapping: pretty similar to last year except there seemed to be weeds in deeper water. It was worst on the south side of Elizabeth Island. Milfoil was the predominant type of weed this summer.
2. GOALS AND NEXT STEPS. We took quite a bit of time to review how we were doing toward meeting the goals for the Pond as adopted by the Town. We listed each goal and then what we had accomplished and needed to do. We agreed that at the next meeting we would prioritized the "to-do's" and pick some for action. Here are the lists we created:
WATER QUALITY AND CONTROL (To reduce the effects of urban runoff to control pollution, weeds, and algae, and to reduce shoreline erosion, in an ecologically sensitive manner.)
Accomplishments: Town adopted goals; hired consultant and have the report on Spy Pond Restoration; convinced the Town to clean the storm drains; did much public education (flyers about fertilizer, Town Day, etc.); created a storm drain map of the watershed; 2 Pond clean-ups (including one weed-pull); weed mapping and monitoring; awareness and progress on the outflow structure and water level; money in the state budget for the sandbar and Rt. 2 storm drain (vetoed by Cellucci); don't feed the geese information.
To do: Get outside help for the geese problem; have the Town adopt a by-law with a fine for feeding geese or for dumping in or near the Pond and enforcement; concentrated and organized effort about fertilizer use and abuse; follow up with MAPC on its Spy Pond study; how to keep the nutrients out of the Pond once they are in the storm drains (infiltration galleries, etc.); water quality sampling, nutrient budget, fecal coliform sampling; succeed on the Pond level; erosion control; monitor that the Town and Highway Department clean catch basins regularly; inform Town and get action on next steps (Town Meeting? Selectmen? Budget Process?).
FLORA AND FAUNA (To promote a healthy diversity of plants and wildlife.)
Accomplishments: Bird list. To do: Phragmites proliferation problem; fish survey.
PUBLIC AWARENESS (To create public awareness and focus the attention of government on the natural, economic, and cultural values of Spy Pond.)
Accomplishments: Brochures; census insert; Town Day; media (Boston Globe, Arlington Advocate); Spy Pond play; Goals; Town Meeting; Mystic River Watershed Coalition.
To do: Monthly column in Arlington Advocate (use the Spy Pond quiz as the first column); keep web site current; bird walks.
PUBLIC USE AND ACCESS (To maintain and improve existing public access, and review the possibilities for enhancing public access and recreation, while ensuring respect for private property.)
Accomplishments: Not much (mentioned in one brochure). To do: Remove concrete piers in Pond; identify public areas (signage); over and under used areas; when Pond is fit to use; benches; signage; Town trash cans; Walk the Pond brochure; public dock/skid/launch area; canoe rentals.
3. SEDIMENT AND WATER QUALITY MONITORING. John Durant gave a brief preview of the information he would provide at the October 22 meeting. He and colleagues at Tufts and MIT did water and sediment monitoring in the Pond over the summer for organic and inorganic materials. They were surprised to find higher than background levels of arsenic in the surface sediments. In other places they have studied in the Mystic watershed the arsenic is buried deeper in the sediments. John thought the arsenic might have been deposited since the 1950's-1960's, based on its concentration near the surface of the sediments. They also found arsenic in the water column at about 6 meters deep. John does not think the amount of arsenic is a problem but would not recommend eating fish caught in the Pond (they have not studied the fish from the Pond for arsenic). He thinks it is okay to use water near the surface for irrigation but not water from deeper in the Pond. He is not sure where the arsenic is originating and hopes to check the incoming Pond water (including the storm water) and will do a grant application to EPA for funds to continue the study. Everyone was invited to the October 22 meeting for a more detailed presentation.
Notes by Eugene B. Benson
NOVEMBER 10, 1998 MEETING NOTES
In Attendance: Eugene Benson, Colin Blair, Frances Cameron, Bill Eykamp, Jacob Friis, Jean Griffin, Karsten Hartel, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Tom Lisco, Alan McClennen, Bob Noyes, Harriet Noyes, Charles Simas.
The meeting was facilitated by Karsten Hartel.
1. UPDATES. A) Karsten Hartel gave a brief presentation on the Mystic River Watershed Association's annual meeting on November 5 at which he discussed Spy Pond. B) Karsten has been working on our web page. Check it out at arlington2020.org and give comments on it to Karsten. C) Gene Benson had no update on the status of the Highway Department's potential removal of the sandbar. Gene needs to call the Highway Department. D) Tom Lisco had no update on the status of the water level of the Pond. We are waiting for Susan Brent to arrange a meeting with the Department of Environmental Protection about it. E) Betsy Leondar-Wright gave a brief presentation for Friends of Spy Pond Park. They planted about 400 bulbs in the park in late October. They appreciated the invitation to present the Spy Pond play at the October 23 meeting, their first performance of the play for an adult audience. The Committee thanked the Friends for the performance. F) There was a brief recap of the presentations made on October 23 concerning arsenic in the water column and sediments of the Pond. It was noted that more testing and analysis will be done. G) We discussed the problem of geese in the Pond and the Park. Mass. Audubon had no suggestions other than signs asking persons not to feed the geese. They also mentioned that some other towns have ordinances against feeding the geese. We had a brief pros and cons discussion about that and thought it would require a warrant article and favorable Town Meeting vote to adopt such an ordinance. H) Bill Eykamp noted that the information about the Secchi disk readings/satellite flyovers is available. Spy Pond is deeper than most ponds that were viewed this past summer and average as to clarity. I) We discussed applying for funds from the upcoming Lake and Pond Grant from the Department of Environmental Management (up to $10,000 to be matched by the Town). The application must be submitted by the Town by December 31, 1998. It was agreed that a committee of Gene Benson, Frances Cameron, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Jacob Friis, and others who are interested will meet to develop the proposal. Interested persons should contact Gene Benson (641-0911).
We spent much of the meeting refining the action options list we created in October. We identified the following action items:
Water Quality and Control: 1) don't feed the waterfowl ordinance; 2) water monitoring for nutrients and coliform (by the Town?); 3) nutrient budget for the Pond: 4) Pond water level; 5) 1999 Lakes and Pond grant application; 6) monitor Town catch basin cleaning; 7) get Pond listed on state water bodies list; 8) develop a program on how to reduce phosphorus inputs into the Pond; 9) focus on Pond storm drains - take pictures, note when running; note odor, color, and other aspects of the discharge.
Flora and Fauna: 1) springtime fish survey; 2) phragmites - monitor and discuss with Conservation Commission; 3) bird counts.
Public Awareness: 1) monthly column in Advocate; 2) fancy brochure or quick and short easy to understand materials; 3) web site; 4) "walk the Pond" walk and/or brochure and/or map, include rules of access; 5) presentation to Board of Selectmen.
Public Use and Access: 1) fix the erosion at the Pond edge at Spy Pond Park; 2) signage needed around the Pond (e.g., points of public access); 3) trash cans needed in areas (e.g., Rt. 2 path); 4) concrete piers (?) removed from Pond.
We noted that there is an overlap among some of the items and some actions items can help further more than one of the goals. Many thought that there were too many action items and we needed to prioritize them more. Some asked the following questions: What do we want to accomplish? What is our focus? Where do we go from the report on the restoration of the Pond? Can we identify a few items that are quick and easy to accomplish as well as some longer term items for action? Gene agreed that he would attempt to organize the list with that in mind for the next meeting. Committee members were encouraged (urged) to get their ideas to Gene about how to organize and prioritize the action items.
Notes by Eugene B. Benson
Remember, the next meeting is on Wednesday, December 9, 1998, 7:30 PM. Please come with your ideas for the top three or four action items for the year. Also, representatives from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) will be at the meeting to discuss how MAPC will proceed with the grant it received to study and report on the Spy Pond watershed. And for those of you with your 1999 calendars: our January meeting is Tuesday, January 12, 1999, 7:30 PM, Second Floor Conference Room, Town Hall Annex. Hope to see you at the December and January meetings!
DECEMBER 9, 1998 MEETING NOTES
In attendance: Eugene Benson, Liz Blumenthal, Rich Cahill, Karsten Hartel, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Adrienne Landry, Betsy Leondar-Wright, Tom Lisco, Jim Marzilli, Anne Paulsen, Joann Robinson, Stew Sanders, Dick Terry.
Guests: Stacey Justus and Mary Ellen Schloss from Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).
NEXT MEETING: TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 1999, 7:30 PM
TOWN HALL ANNEX, SECOND FLOOR CONFERENCE ROOM
The meeting was facilitated by Karsten Hartel. The meeting notes are by Eugene Benson.
1. AWARD TO JAMES MARZILLI. On behalf of the Massachusetts Community Forestry Council, Joann Robinson presented Jim Marzilli with the Forestry Council's 1998 Trunk Award for outstanding support of community trees in Arlington, based on Jim's 2000 by 2000 project. Jim spoke about the planting that has been done and future plans such as a butterfly garden in Town and conifer plantings as a buffer along Rt. 2. A Committee member asked Jim whether the 2000x2000 project had looked at Spy Pond shores as a place to do planting. Jim said, not yet, but he would look into it. A committee member noted that the Town has authorized a Request for Proposals to study erosion issues in that area.
2. MAPC PROJECT. Mary Ellen Schloss discussed the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) $42,000 grant (with $7,500 MAPC match) that MAPC has received to study urban watershed management in the Spy Pond and Horn Pond areas. There will be three major aspects to the Spy Pond work: 1) do a shoreline survey to document, parcel by parcel, what is present, erosion, storm drain pipes, and other visible items; 2) document land cover and land use in the watershed; and 3) do an analysis using City Green, a computer program which uses digital orthophotographs to quantify types of ground covers and analyze storm water runoff and volume. MAPC will do two subwatersheds with City Green because it is too expensive to do a City Green analysis for the entire Spy Pond watershed.
The purpose of the project is to provide information that may be used by the Committee and Town and to identify the value of buffers around the Pond. The deadline for completion of the project is February 2000. Stacey Justus will lead the project for MAPC.
Committee members had many comments about the project. Here are the comments and Ms. Schloss's responses: 1) Many groups are doing little bits and pieces. There should be coordination. MAPC agrees there should be coordination. 2) How does this mesh with the Pond restoration report? Not directly when it comes to phosphorus, but it will help with the part of the report that discusses best management practices for storm water management. 3) Who benefits from the report? The deliverable is for the Town. We would like to make it useful for the Town. 4) Which subwatersheds? Alan McClennen suggested focusing on subwatersheds 4 and 5 (north of the Pond) because they are most likely to change and therefore present an opportunity to influence land use in them. 5) What amount of vegetative cover would make a difference; how much impervious surface is too much? MAPC would like to look into that. 6) Think of incentives to increase vegetative cover; the MAPC 208 study gives recommendations by town. 7) Are you presuming that the largest problem is from the most populated area of the watershed? Are we missing a step? Will all your information be from digitized information or will you be interviewing people who live near the Pond? MAPC had not thought about doing interviews and would need our help. The Committee offered to help and suggested the use of a standard questionnaire. 8) The Committee has not focused on the lawns around the Pond as a major problem. If it is not a problem, why focus on it? MAPC has not looked at that and made a tacit assumption that the lawns were a problem. 9) Are there models that project the values of a buffer around a Pond? MAPC does not know but will look into it.
MAPC had some questions for the Committee: 1) What have been your past efforts to control fertilizer use? We gave them some of the materials we created. 2) Have you done a shoreline survey and how can the information be presented? No, we have not done a shoreline survey and are not sure how we would present the information. 3) Let us know of any problems you know of such as sewer flows into the Pond.
We had final comments: leaves in the Pond help cause the phosphorus to be available and should be considered by the project; do not choose both of the two most commercially developed subwatersheds for the City Green analysis -- choose one of them and one other subwatershed; consider whether to study public health parameters such as coliform.
3. 1999 ACTION PLAN. We continued our discussion of the previous month about activities to be undertaken by the Committee in 1999 and created the following action list:
Water Quality: Storm Drains project; Pond water level; catch basin cleaning; Highway Dept. drain and sandbar; coordination with MAPC project; water monitoring; removal of the remains of a "pier" in the Pond near the Park.
Flora and Fauna: Do one fish activity and one bird activity.
Public Awareness: Monthly column in Advocate; Brochure this Spring; web site; "walk-around" the Pond; presentation to the Board of Selectmen.
Public Use and Access: Signage; erosion control in the Park.
Committee members noted that there is some overlap among the items. Some suggested that the list is too long for one year. Some suggested we need to create a strategic plan. Others thought the list was the beginning or equivalent of a strategic plan. Some suggested the items should relate to the Pond restoration report. Some suggested that many of the items do that.
4. OTHER. 1) There was discussion of the Committee's portion of the Vision 2020 annual census mailing. We will focus on the phosphorus issue and ask for help in identifying the sources of pollution of the Pond and in publicizing what should be done. 2) We decided to not have a warrant article this year, thinking we were not ready to make a suggestion for next steps for the Pond. 3) There was our monthly discussion about geese. We discussed whether a warrant article is needed but decided to discuss the issue with the Town Board of Health and whether it could and would adopt an ordinance against feeding geese. Bill Eykamp noted that he had recently returned from Beijing, where the current hot cuisine is "Roasted Goose Whelp Delicacy." (The Committee did not endorse the killing or consumption of Spy Pond geese.)