Lake Wickaboag Dredging Project
From Al Collings
The funding story for the North Cove Dredging Project continues. In May, we learned that the MA Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs did not include in his 2017 Capital plan any of our $5.0 million in the Environmental Bond Bill for the dredging of the North Cove of Lake Wickaboag. However, MA State Senator Anne Gobi was able to include $.5 million for our project in the Economic Development Bill approved by both the MA Senate and House and signed by Governor Baker in August. Upon inquiry, we were advised by Senator Gobi’s staff that any appropriation under this bill would have to be included in the 2018 Capital Plan due to be published in the spring of 2017 before funds could be committed. Senator Gobi’s office is now returning to the staff of the Energy and Environmental Affairs department to see if, at a minimum, $.5 million could be released from the Environmental Bond Bill so we can proceed to finalize our permit filings and complete our engineering plans for the project. Again, this release will probably be delayed until the 2018 Capital Plan is published in the spring of 2017. If we are able to get these funds, we will use some of our remaining $33,000 to prepare the necessary “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for these tasks. For now, we sit and wait for the next conversations after the election
NORTH COVE DREDGING PROJECT STATUS
August 21, 2015
On August 20th, Johanna Swain, Executive Secretary to the WB Board of Selectmen, Dr. Ken Wagner, well known lake and pond consultant, and I met with MA Senator Anne Gobi, , MA Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, and Stolle Singleton, Legislative Assistant to Secretary Beaton. The meeting started in the WB Town Hall and concluded with a ride around Lake Wickaboag in my Chris Craft to give the visitors a firsthand view of water quality improvement projects that had been completed and a review of the site and story of the $5.0 million north cove dredging proposal. The meeting had been arranged through the staff of Anne Gobi.
The purpose of the meeting was twofold:
1. Present to the Secretary a picture of the lake management issues confronting lakes and ponds across the Commonwealth using Lake Wickaboag as an example.
2. Review the plans and progress for the dredging (also an issues in many MA lakes and ponds) of the north cove of Lake Wickaboag and the information needed for the Secretary to authorize the disbursement of the $5 million included in the MA Environmental Bond Bill passed by the MA House and Senate and signed by the then Governor Patrick last fall.
We presented the Secretary with copies of the LWPA newsletter, the 2013 Apex PowerPoint presentation on the status of the north cove dredging project, a PowerPoint presentation of lake and pond issues in MA and an additional document prepared by Dr. Wagner on MA lake issues with background and possible solutions.
The meeting went well with the Secretary and his assistant listening intently and taking many notes and asking a lot of questions. Dr. Wagner highlighted the issues contained in his document. The Secretary indicated that while we brought many issues, he wanted detailed solutions and alternatives. He recognized the problem of lack of interdepartmental cooperation and wasn’t sure how to solve it.
We tried to impress the Secretary that in West Brookfield, we are a group that gets projects done with the support of the Selectmen, boards and committee and with the community with generous private funding of lake projects. The Secretary asked what he could do for the dredging project. I responded that we needed the $5.0 million that was included in the Environmental Bill. He did not offer to write the check at this time nor did he indicate that the funds were not available. He did ask if the funding could be spread over several fiscal periods.
I see these as the action steps:
1. The LWPA working with the WB Board of health will develop a task and funding plan for release of the funds. I suggested this would take a few weeks.
2. The Secretary agreed to hold a meeting with representatives on MA COLAP at his office in Boston sometime in September or October. We will begin working on the agenda which needs to include more detailed recommendations to specific issues.
Consultants still need to evaluate the possible depository site on Wickaboag Valley Road through soil samples. They have the authority to go on the property and dig seven holes. They are supposed to have report to us by the 1st of June. They will do a comparative analysis of both sites. Probably a year from fall before this goes into process.
The Governor signed the bill. Now waiting on funds appropriation. It will cost about $33,000 to evaluate the two potential sediment dump sites, a must to finish the DEP filing. We need about 50 acres.
Contractor had to give a $500 reimbursement because they did not do the seeding. The ponds are 6-8 feet deep. It took an extra $100,000 in private funds to finish the beach pond. Mary Beth to call Louise Garwood to design vegetative buffer between the boat club parking lot and the pond. LWPA will award $1000 grant for the project. John Frizzell proposed that the boat club spend $2500 for a design and any permits necessary to do the work. Boat club approved. The culvert under the road needs to be replaced, a $40,000-$60,000 project. Size of culvert is dictated by the state. ESS has been asked to do the design and permit for $4,000 and file for another 319 grant. LWPA will commit to $1500. Motion made to allocate $1000 to vegetate the banking at the boat club and $1500 for the culvert project. Unanimous.
Click here for the 2010 Dredging Prospectus link
Lake Wickaboag North Cove Dredging Project
The Apex Companies (dredging consultants) completed taking ninety-six sediment core samples, and the test
results confirmed that the material is not suitable for residential use, but under certain circumstances could be
used for commercial or industrial situations. We have concluded that we should plan on depositing sediment at
a site where the material could be covered and left forever, most likely at the unused area of the town land fill
and some adjacent land, subject to town approval. The project feasibility and a modified preliminary dredge
design and permitting activity started in 2010, should be finished by the middle of 2013. We have been slowed
by changes in staff at Apex, but expect the initial permits will be filed by June this year. A major issue will be
the permitting of the pumping of the dredge material to the land fill. Since we will be crossing wetlands and
following Bradish Brook to the dewatering and disposal area, our plans will be under great scrutiny. This task
could take more time than anticipated. Preparation of engineering, design and construction specifications
should begin in 2013 and be finished in 2014. Actual dredging could begin in 2015,
dependent upon raising the
necessary funds in the next two years.
Private fund raising has been completed with the raising of $151,325.00. We appreciate all contributions and
will need to raise additional local amounts for the final plans. Our attention will now turn to raising the $5-$8
million needed for the actual dredging operation.
Dredge Project Goals:
• Improve water quality and clarity;
• Reduce long-term sediment input;
• Remove invasive species;
• Reduce Algae blooms;
• Reverse eutrophic conditions;
• Improve boating and recreation
• Improve fish stock and sporting
Dredge Project Tasks:
• Remove 300,000 + cubic yards of
sediment from fifty to seventy-five
acres in the north cove.
• Create two varied depth basins to
improve water clarity and create
preferred habitat for fish species.
An updated Lake Wickaboag Dredging Prospectus is available for those who want more information
Call Al at
508.867.7165 for a copy.