Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Monday, February 2, 2009
Monday Morning Rants
It would be like not having it all.
So, about these dams on the Hammant Brook. I would like to keep them. We bought the property with the ponds in it, and it made for a beautiful tract of land for the town to purchase. Now we must change that to something else?
OK, so the state biologists say it will be healthy for the fish and the Quinebaug River to allow the brook to flow free. Hasn't seemed to hurt either one yet, though. And if we are going to use the same argument for restoring the health of the brook, and the river by removing the dams, then all dams that hold back brook and stream waters flowing into the Quinebaug should be removed.
After all, it is for the health of the river, and the stream itself.
Let's start with the earthen dam at Pistol Pond. That old dam holds back a great deal of water that eventually flows into the Quinebaug River. The source of the water is in the wetlands north of Walker Pond. A stream from the wetlands flows into Walker Pond, and out the southern end of the pond, under the ramps of the Mass Pike, under Route 20 and into Pistol Pond. Once in Pistol Pond the water fills the pond, and the excess flows over the dam into Hobbs Brook and on into the river.
This is a whole lot of geography that would be affected if we took down this dam. Many wildlife species that have come to make the are home because of ponds would be displaced. The water level of Pistol Pond would be dramatically lowered, as would the water level of Walker Pond as well. The wetlands would suffer as well. It would be like pulling the stopper in a bathtub.
But, it is a good thing, right? We will have restored the streams to the the way they once were, way back before man came along and messed with the ecosystem.
But, here is the issue: man is here. We chose the area to settle, and to live in. When we came here, we made changes to the landscape to support our settlement. If we change things to the way they once were, how will that affect us, and our way of life?
Something to think on.
As far as I can see, there is no large fish kills from the dams on Hammant Brook, the wildlife is not being adversely affected. Maybe some fish aren't allowed access to the river, and the water temperature, according to the biologists, is not what it could be, but that water temperature is affected by a number of other factors as well. Storm runoff into the river, and the flow from the East Brimfield Dam can alter the water temperature as well.
Seems that it comes down to money. Restore the dams for one amount, or remove them for another. Each has its supporters.
I don't think that the Town would opt for removing the Pistol Pond dam for the same reasons as it is considering for the Hammant Brook dams. There's no money there to fund its removal, and the people that live upstream would light torches and storm the Town Hall with pitchforks if it was ever considered. Hammant Brook has no real abutters, except the wildlife that has come to live on and around the ponds.
Hmm. Take the "free" money now to remove the dams, and be done with them, or spend other money to restore them and maintain them?
How about we just leave them alone? Why bother restore them at all? Why not just leave them as they are?
Maybe, just maybe, the this money from the co-generation plant further down river could be better off spent on taking care of the river downstream from it. The plant sends heated water into the river, and that is a concern, maybe the money should be spent where it is needed more, and not for some "feel good" act way the heck upstream.
OK. I'm done. Enough ranting for a Monday morning.