To the Editor:
You are correct [Editorial: Still the Mill Pond, October 9] that the question of the West Tisbury Mill Pond has lingered for years despite the West Tisbury voters having twice approved funds that support the dredging of the pond. The selectmen’s Mill Pond Committee has also recommended that the town dredge the pond, but for various reasons, one delay after another has kept the town from moving forward with dredging. The water quality study has merit, but according to Aquatic Control Technology’s 2006 report to the town, water quality management is a slow and complex process and is unlikely to result in “significant reduction of in-pond vegetative growth.” Whatever the selectmen’s decision on the water quality study, the pond’s dredging should not be dependent upon it and should be undertaken independently and immediately.
The notion of removing the Mill Pond Dam to recreate the 16th century Mill Brook has its own significant problems, not the least of which are undertaking additional studies to determine whether there are appropriate conditions for fish spawning and movement and getting upstream owners to agree to the removal of their private dams and the dismantling of their ponds. Furthermore, the West Tisbury Historic District Commission would have to reverse its designation of the Mill Pond as one of the 14 properties to be preserved because of its central role in the creation of the town.
Your Editorial paints an idyllic picture of a stream bed bordered by a green open space to be enjoyed by the public. In reality, one only has to look at the existing west bank of the pond that through town’s neglect has become overgrown and inaccessible. Similarly, a look at the Mill Brook passing under Scotchman’s Bridge Lane, thickly bordered by trees and shrubs, gives one a vision of what the Mill Pond converted to a stream might really look like.
You are correct, let’s move forward. The town need not wait until the pond has become completely overgrown, at which point remediation will be more costly, and the West Tisbury and Island populations will have lost a valuable historic and environmental resource.