Minutes: September 21, 2004

Foster's Pond Corporation
September 21, 2004
South School, Andover
7:00p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

About 40 residents attended the September 21, 2004 meeting. Steve Cotton read from the bylaws regarding the main purpose of the Corporation. Everyone briefly introduced themselves.

Minutes of the May 11, 2004 meeting were read by Janet Kenney and were unanimously approved.

David Brown read the Treasurer’s Report, noting a bank balance on September 15 of $3,042, after paying property taxes in July in the amount of $38.13. Counting money received at this meeting, he had $364 in undeposited checks. He reported that 44 households had contributed to the Pond Fund, with three contributing more than the $50 requested. He said that we anticipated a bill for $1,250 for the just-completed study of weeds in the Pond, which would leave us with a bit more than $2,000.

Weeds. Weed Committee co-chairmen David Adilman and Mark Florio reported on meetings of the committee and the results of researching different methods of controls including hydroraking, drawdowns, dredging (wet and dry) and Sonar (a chemical used in Pomp’s Pond by the Town last May). Janet Kenney summarized some of her research into dredging.

David reported that the committee had just received, earlier in the day, a draft of Aquatic Technology Control’s assessment of the Foster’s Pond weed problem. [To read the final report, which was submitted in October, 2004, click here.] He read portions of the 15-page draft report to the members. Some highlights: Our pond has shrunk – it used to have 135 acres of open water, but now has 120 acres. It is 13 ft. deep at its deepest undredged point, and 15 ft deep near Azalea Drive where a portion was dredged years ago. The channel is 4 ft. deep. Fanwort is our problem weed, dominating all others in the Pond and accounting for about 80% of the plant growth in Foster’s Pond.

ACT recommends a combination of approaches, including the use of Sonar. According to ACT, Sonar should provide control of fanwort for at least two-three and perhaps as long as 5 years. ACT recommends using Sonar in combination with a limited drawdown (12-18 inches), which would (1) maintain the chemical concentration during the application period (preferably in May); (2) allow some homeowners to remove shoreline much without the need for the hydrorake; (3) flush some sediments and nutrients out of the Pond; and (4) contribute to safety of the dam. Sonar would reduce pond lilies for only the first year, after which they would rebound.

ACT estimated the cost of Sonar application to the entire Pond at $37,250 to $42,500 initially. ACT said that dredging would be prohibitively expensive ($3.8 million to $7.8 million to make the Pond deep enough to eliminated Fanwort growth from major portions). ACT recommended that the effects of a limited drawdown be evaluated, with consideration given later to a 3-4 foot drawdown.

Dam Committee chairman Paul Ross estimated that the cost of repairing the stop logs in the dam to facilitate a 12”-18” drawdwon might be $350.00 to $1,000. He said that he regarded this as a minor repair which would not require an engineering study or approval from the State Office of Dam Safety.

Members discussed the pros and cons of using chemicals. There was discussion of whether a drawdown would affect shallow wells. (Louise Small, who has lived on or visited the Pond since she was a little girl, reported that during drawdowns many years ago year-round residents did not lose water, although some were afraid that would happen.) Someone asked whether a drawdown would cause a smell; it was pointed out the a drawdown would occur in the colder months, just before frost, so the smell would be minimal.

Steve explained the process for obtaining a permit for any type of weed control. He said that Foster’s Pond is unusual because the current permit which allows hydroraking is one which the Town applied for and issued to itself. He said that this permit expires next Spring, but that he has spoken with the Town Conservation Officer, Jim Greer, about seeking a 3- or 5-year extension of the permit, and also expanding its scope to allow the use of Sonar as well as a drawdown. He reported that Greer had made clear that any expansion in the scope of the permit would trigger a public hearing.

Andover State Representative Barbara L’Italien talked about grant money that might be available from the State. She said that a new grant program could provide money to the Town (the Corporation, because it is not tax-exempt, is ineligible for a direct grant). She reported that grants are based on a pond’s degradation and will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Grant amounts are likely to be in the $6,000 to $11,000 range, with a high of $20,000. 65% of the money in the program (out of a total of approximately $400,000 in the current budget) will be for weed eradication programs, including use of chemicals. She said she would be happy to enlist the entire Andover legislative delegation to support a grant for weed control for Foster’s Pond.

After more discussion, the following motions were passed unanimously:

(1) Authorize the expenditure of up to $1,000 for repairs to the dam, including the repair of the stop logs to permit a draw-down of 12” to 18”.

(2) Authorize Steve and the Dam Committee to work with Jim Greer and the Conservation Commission to extend the weed control permit (now focused on hydroraking) and to expand the permit to allow drawdowns and the use of Sonar.

(3) Authorize the Dam Committee to undertake a drawdown of 12” to 18” this winter, subject to the issuance of a permit, and provided that owners of shallow wells are identified and spoken with, and effects (if any) on their wells are closely monitored so that the drawdown can be stopped if there are any adverse effects.

It was agreed that the decision to seek a permit for the use of Sonar was NOT a decision by the Corporation to go ahead with its use, but that more research and discussion would be necessary before making a decision on use. In addition, it was pointed out that Sonar use would require a major fund-raising effort.

The Point. Discussion about the Point was postponed to next meeting for lack of time.

Next meeting. The next meeting will be Tuesday, January 11, 2005. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:25 p.m.