To the Editor:
It is necessary to correct and respond to several items mentioned in Anna Alley’s letter to the editor published February 23, entitled “Mill Pond’s Future needs careful judgement by West Tisbury Voters.”
It is disingenuous for Anna Alley to use the estimated cost mentioned in the preliminary evaluation for dam removal (site recon report by Stantec Engineering, June 2011) without acknowledging the fact that there exists significant funding for stream restoration projects. This fact was covered by Michael Hopper during his presentation at the West Tisbury Library on January 28 (Feb. 1, “Another possibility surfaces for West Tisbury’s Mill Pond”). At Red Brook in Wareham, for instance, the cost of removing four dams was about $400,000; the town of Wareham had to come up with just $3,000 of that total.
Secondly, the Mill Brook 2010 Water Quality Assessment report by Bill Wilcox, mentioned in Anna Alley’s letter, did not consider or compare the option of stream restoration at the Mill Pond, or the incredible ability of a restored stream and associated wetland to attenuate nutrients and sediment before they reach Tisbury Great Pond. A comparison such as this was not part of the scope of Bill’s sampling project at that time. To date, there are no water quality issues in Mill Brook or Mill Pond that warrant the kind of dredging project, with associated wetland construction, currently proposed by the Mill Pond Committee.
There are significant costs, both financial and ecological, associated with maintaining the current status of the Mill Pond, which are not addressed by the Mill Pond Committee’s extremely complicated proposal.
With stream restoration, these costs go away, forever.