Here is a timeline of major events of 2015.
* requires all dogs to be on leash at all times
* visitors to stay on marked trails
* prohibits swimming from all town owned land
* develop appropriate enforcement mechanisms
* implement the recommendations of the ESS Study
* begin bank stabilization, erosion control and signage
The Town Manager allocates $25,000 to implement this strategy.
Under the supervision of Delia Kaye, The Division of Natural Resources and volunteers install temporary erosion controls on several of the six major erosion areas located on town land around Sachem's Cove.
The Town of Concord hires rangers who are supervised by the Division of Natural Resources and the Concord Police to enforce the new regulations. The rangers inform visitors, pick up trash, maintain erosion controls, install a temporary fence to re-route foot traffic and benefit Concord residents and the pond through their thoughtful and caring actions.
The Concord Police Department continues its regular patrolling of White Pond and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Toxic blue-green algae outbreaks are becoming common across the globe as temperatures rise. Higher water temperatures combined with storm run-off (which contains phosphorous and nitrogen) from the erosion sites feed the algae common in all ponds and causes it to "bloom". The bloom releases toxic substances harmful to humans and animals.
For the first time in history, the pond is unavailable to Concord residents who have enjoyed many summer days swimming. We continue to face our silent summer as the toxic algae plagues the waters.
The question is how can we prevent further toxic algae blooms and ensure that White Pond remains a swimmable pond for many more years. The responsibility for the pond is shared by many different people and agencies. The state owns the pond and the access road near the White Pond Associates beach. The town of Concord is the largest land owner (over 40 acres) and several town departments and committees have a responsibility to the pond (including the Board of Health, the Department of Natural Resources, the Town Planner, the Select Board, the White Pond Advisory Committee, the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Committee, the Trails Committee), White Pond Associates and all the residents in the surrounding neighborhoods and watershed. It becomes clear that meetings including all the stakeholders are essential to care for this fragile ecosystem. The pond currently has no formal lake management association.
The Board of Health re-opens pond as the latest tests show a dramatic decrease in cyanobateria.
Mr. Whelan, Town Manager, reports that the State Fish and Game Department met with the Town and expressed an interest in rebuilding the boat launch and passing the maintenance responsibility to the Town. The boat launch and access road is a major contributor of storm run-off into the pond.
Jerry Frenkil, the Chair of the White Pond Advisory Committee reminds the Board that the toxic algae bloom is a symptom of larger issues that have threatened the pond for a long time and he recommends continuing a holistic approach based on the White Pond Advisory Committee Vision Report.
This report indicates that even with the pond being closed most of the summer for swimming, the number of weekly visitors in the beginning of the summer before the algae bloom was 400 people. By the end of the summer that number had decreased to 100. About 40% of these visitors are from out of town indicating that Sachem's Cove is a swimming destination for many people in the Greater Boston area. This figure is much higher when the pond is open to swimmers.
Dr. William Walker, Concord resident and environmental engineer who has been monitoring the water quality since 1987, releases his report on White Pond water quality showing that the quality has steadily declined over the past 10 years.
White Pond resident Henry Patterson reports that a group of property owners on the north side of White Pond improved their unpaved private streets, strategically changing their contour to reduce storm water runoff to the pond. 100% of the residents of Seymour and Tracy Streets were involved and financed this project entirely. Their actions benefit all of us as well as the pond.
The Director of Land Planning, Marcia Rasmussen, meets with the Select Board of Concord to review a letter to MassDOT (Department of Transportation) urging that the Powder Mill Road tunnel and environmental improvements south of Powder Mill Road be included in the Phase 2C construction package of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. This letter was approved by the Select Board and these improvements will ensure barriers to protect White Pond from further erosion and damage by bike and foot traffic near the pond.
We end the year knowing that the Town of Concord is committed to preserving the pond and together we will do all we can to ensure that we take care of this unique natural resource.
While we cannot control the rise in the temperature of the water, we can continue to work to manage human activity around the pond to mitigate the likelihood of future algae outbreaks.