Minutes: January 11, 2005

Foster's Pond Corporation
January 11, 2005
South School, Andover
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

About 29 residents attended the January 11, 2004 meeting.  Steve Cotton read from the Articles of Organization regarding the main purposes of the Corporation.  Everyone briefly introduced themselves.

Minutes of the September 21, 2004, meeting were read by Janet Kenney.   David Brown made a correction relating to the Treasurer’s Report, stating that the number of households contributing to the Pond Fund was 44.  As corrected, the Minutes were unanimously approved.

David Brown read the Treasurer’s Report, noting a bank balance on January 11 of $2087.47.  He said that $38.13 was paid for property taxes and $1,250.00 to ACT for the pond study.  Outstanding taxes due:  $45.31.

Election of Officers.   There was a motion to keep the existing Officers for another one-year term.  The Motion was unanimously approved.  The Officers for 2005 are:  President – Steve Cotton, Vice-President – Lynne Whitefield, Treasurer – Dave Brown, and Secretary – Janet Kenney.

Weeds.  Steve gave an update.  Abutters were notified of a public hearing at the Andover Town Offices on November 16, 2004, concerning the Conservation Commission’s application for control of aquatic nuisance vegetation at Foster’s Pond (DEP File No. 90-535) for on going hydro-raking, winter drawdowns of up to 18”, and the use of Sonar to control fanwort.  There were two additional evenings of hearings (December 21 and January 4).  At the hearings, Steve gave the Conservation Commission an overview of the Foster’s Pond Corporation’s Vegetation Management Program (with the help of Dave Adilman, co-chairman of the Weed Committee).  A large number of residents attended the hearings to show their support for the program.  Only one area resident voiced concern about the use of Sonar and drawing down the Pond, and two other residents voiced concern about Sonar use.  At the December 21 hearing, Aquatic Control Technology president Gerry Smith and senior biologist Marc Bellaud joined Steve and Dave to answer the Commission’s questions about using Sonar.  At the end of that hearing, the Commission voted informally to approve the Corporation’s plan, and asked Steve to draft an “Order of Conditions” for the Commission to take formal action on at the Commission’s next session.  On January 4, 2005, the Commission formally adopted the “Order of Conditions,” with a few changes.  As of tonight’s FPC meeting, the Commission had not released the final text of its Order. 

Steve said that he expected that someone will appeal the Conservation Commission’s decision.

Questions about the appeal process were brought up.  Marc Bellaud of ACT stated the process is generally about 6 months, but could take a year.

Marc Bellaud, senior biologist from ACT, was a guest speaker.  Marc did the field work and did most of the writing for the 2004 ACT study of Foster’s Pond, which has guided the Corporation and the Conservation Commission.  He presented a short slide show on the study, showing the weeds he found and where they are.  He also showed some before and after pictures of using Sonar in other ponds.  (Quite impressive!).  Mark mentioned there are only 6 chemicals registered for use by the State as aquatic herbicides (a 7th may be approved soon), but Sonar is the ONLY one that will kill the fanwort, which is the dominant weed in our pond.  Systemically, it kills fanwort down to the roots (using less than 20 parts per billion).  It works by blocking the plant’s ability to protect chlorophyll from breaking down in sunlight, so the plant bleaches out and dies.  This process can take 6 to 8 weeks.  Color changes, from green to pink, to white would occur.  Floating islands (of water lily roots) will appear in the bigger part of the pond and in the wetlands.  Pond water should not be used to irrigate land plants for 60 to 90 days once treatment begins.  An airboat is used with weighted hoses to administer Sonar, so none of it goes into the air.  Every 10-14 days, concentrations would be test in an on-going monitoring process, to see that the right concentration is maintained.  Treatment would begin in late May or early June, and one or two retreatments may take place to keep the concentrations at the proper level (since the chemical begins to break down quite quickly).

Questions were asked about using hydroraking.  Marc suggested that hydroraking could dispose of the floating islands.  Also, Sonar will not solve the problem of water lilies or muck.  Steve noted that hydroraking is part of our existing permit, and will still be permitted as part of the overall week management program.  Another question was raised as to toxicity to animals or fish.  Marc said that Sonar is the least toxic herbicide approved by the State.  He said that, under State regulations, there are no restrictions on swimming, fishing, or water consumption, Sonar is applied at a concentration of 20 parts per billion or less, as it would be in Foster’s Pond.  But he said that usually beaches are posted to warn against swimming when Sonar is being applied.  Steve said that the Order of Conditions may have additional restrictions, if the Andover Board of Health recommends any.

The Winter drawdown (up to 18 inches, done in 6 inch increments) would begin in November.  The Pond will normally fill back up by early Spring, but when Sonar is applied, we will ask the Fish and Game Department for permission to keep a lower pond level for a longer period of time, so the Sonar doesn’t wash out of the Pond.

There was discussion of shallow wells.  The Corporation’s well survey found that a total of 15 houses have shallow wells, but only 12 of these houses are likely to be occupied at the time of any drawdown.  Dave Adilman said that it appears that all of them are deep enough that a drawdown of only 18” is unlikely to affect them.  Also, most of them are at least 50 or 60 feet from the Pond.  Since Sonar does not migrate through the soil, none is likely to be affected by the use of Sonar in the pond.

There was a question about algae blooms.  Marc said that Sonar won’t kill the algae, but that because it kills fanwort very slowly, the use of Sonar is not likely to lead to an increase in algae blooms.

Motion on Sonar use.  Steve noted that up until this point, the Corporation had voted to seek Conservation Commission approval for the use of Sonar but had specifically decided to postpone a decision on whether to go forward with the Sonar program if the Conservation Commission gave its okay.  There was a motion made and seconded that the Corporation approves the use of Sonar in the Pond in accordance with the study.  The motion was approved with one member voting nay

Motion on DEP appeal.  A motion was made and seconded to authorize the president to intervene, on behalf of the Corporation, in administrative proceedings to protect the Conservation Commission’s Amended Order of Conditions approving the Foster’s Pond vegetation management program.  The motion passed unanimously.

There was a brief discussion on becoming a “501(c)3” tax-exempt organization, which would help in obtaining funds from government agencies and would open doors to seeking tax-exempt contributions from the outside.  The FPC would no longer restrict membership to those living or owning property on the pond.  A motion was approved for Steve to draft new Articles of Organization and new by-laws to change our tax status to tax-exempt, and to present them for a formal vote at the next meeting.

Fundraising Committee.   A motion was approved to establish a Fundraising Committee to brainstorm ways to raise money for Sonar and other activities of the Corporation.  Steve appointed Marty Rabinowitz (after he suggested the idea) to be chairman, and a sign-up sheet was passed around.

Next meeting:  The date was set for March 15, 2005, at South School.  [Please note:  After the meeting, Steve found that South School was not available on that date, so the meeting date was CHANGED to March 22, 2005, at South School.]

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:40 p.m.