Mill Pond rehab on West Tisbury warrant
The board of selectmen last week urged the conservation commission (ConCom) chairman to seek some initial funding this spring for the cleanup of Mill Pond, despite the commission's reluctance to pursue a project this year.
The selectmen asked ConCom chairman Prudy Burt to work with the selectmen's executive secretary on wording and a appropriation request for the spring town meeting warrant. Ms. Burt said she did not have a specific figure that would cover the first steps toward restoring the pond.
Three weeks ago, the selectmen and the commission heard Keith Gazaille, senior biologist of Aquatic Control Technology (ACT), outline the company's assessment of the pond, which has a reduced water depth and is clogged with weeds. He recommended comprehensive dredging at an estimated cost of $400,000 to $600,000 in the first year and $25,000 to $38,000 in the second and third years. The first step, the permitting costs, were estimated at $2,500.
Photo by Ben Scott
Ms. Burt told the selectmen last Wednesday that the purpose of ACT's analysis was to obtain a good baseline evaluation of the pond. Its assessment was expected, she said. However, the conservation commission believes the pond showed no pressing problems and that dredging was a very large, expensive project.
"We at the conservation commission are not in a huge hurry to do this," Ms. Burt said. "There is no danger with the health of the pond.... We may backburner doing anything on this until later this year."
The commission members thought they could get by with hauling weeds from the pond for the next five years, she said. She added that the town has a lot of expenses this year, such as addressing plans to expand or build a town hall.
Despite her comments, selectman chairman John Early said, "You might be well advised to set some funding aside." He said the town would have to appropriate funds out of the stabilization fund for the pond work.
Selectman Jeffrey "Skipper" Manter also said the commission would need funds at some point to begin the work, and to get them this year, it would need to submit a request at the town meeting. The deadline for submitting articles for the town meeting warrant is Feb. 20.
Mr. Manter said the town needs more information and public debate on the issue, which the town meeting could provide.