TOWN OF ARLINGTON VISION 2020 ENVIRONMENT TASK GROUP
RESERVOIR COMMITTEE
June 13, 2002  Meeting Notes

In attendance:   Rich Bento, Cathy Garnett, Brian Hasbrouck, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Sharon Stafford, Susan Wheelock. 
Facilitator: Jane Howard. Minutes: Elizabeth Karpati. 

Next Meetings (all tentative): Tuesday, July 2; Wed., Aug. 28 or Tues., Sept. 2 (time & place TBA)

Report from Rich Bento:
Rich brought and distributed copies of a series of documents:
Nov. 2, 2001 from Weston & Sampson, summarizing dam repair proposals (including tree removal and swimming area berm “improvements” but no significant landscaping), estimated at $1,735,000 to $2,160,000.
March 5, 2002 from W&S with a proposed study of the impact of “removing” the Res dam, and possible flooding mitigation measures; estimated cost of study $135,330.
May 6, 2002 from W&S with a proposed study of the whole Mill Brook drainage area to identify feasible flooding mitigation measures; estimated cost of study $184,925. 
Proposed amendment #6 to the contract between W&S and the Town: a proposal for a study of what is needed to make the Res dam safe with the least disturbance of existing vegetation (instead of the study on dam “removal”). Estimated cost $112,410, already funded. This would be a geotechnical study with Mark Mitsch in charge. 
Proposed amendment #7, outlining the study described in the May 6 letter. This is not yet funded. A different person would be in charge because of hydrological expertise is needed.
Draft letter from Phil Farrington, Town Manager, to the Board of Selectmen, outlining the history of the Res dam problem and the studies done or proposed, and recommending that the dam be retained and made safe and the Mill Brook study undertaken.
Rich asked for two kinds of input: 
(1) He asks whether the “scope of work” outlined in the amendments covers everything necessary. (Additions requested would mean additional costs.) 
(2) Mr. Farrington has asked for comments on his draft letter. All comments should be sent to Rich within two weeks; he will summarize them for Mr. Farrington.
Rich will try to get the documents in Word format that he can e-mail to people who missed this meeting but should have a chance to provide input.

Additional information flowing from the discussion:
Permitting concerns: “Anything can happen” with MEPA. Army Corps of Engineers would probably approve since we will be making dam improvements. ConComs: probably no problem with Arlington; uncertain about Lexington.
Rich will talk to FEMA about possibly getting funding for the Mill Brook / flooding mitigation study. It is now obvious that water from Sickle Brook as well as the Res will need to be considered.
Some of the flood-control measures proposed in the 1974 Maguire study of Mill Brook would not be permitted today; also, improved modeling programs are available, so a new study is needed.
Amendment #6 includes landscaping for the Res dam. The planting “pods” originally proposed for the top of the dam are probably financially out of reach, but the project can be designed so that pods can be added later if funds can be raised.
DEM probably wouldn’t force Arlington to remove the trees from the dam, but if they remained (in areas where they haven’t been determined to be safe), liability would rest on Arlington.
Raising and lowering the water level in the Res each year puts an extra stress on the dam, by saturating and then drying out some strata of soil.
The hydrological study for the repairs at Peirce Field resulted in designing a swale, i.e., adding water-carrying capacity above ground rather than enlarging the culvert.
The FEMA study predicted flooding in places like the Brigham’s parking lot in certain storms which did not cause flooding in those places.

Miscellaneous:
There is a meeting on Symmes on June 27; the public is invited.
We will have a meeting on July 2 (if OK for Gene) to go over our comments on the documents.
We are not at a stage where another public meeting on the Res would make sense, but an article should be written for the Advocate after Mr. Farrington’s letter has gone to the Selectmen.
The stump dump was used for temporary storage of trees felled by storms but the piles are in the process of being removed.
Susan reported on an AEEF grant to two elementary schools for a project to link art, science, and environmental awareness for fifth-graders.  They will study Audubon’s art, make nature-watching field trips to the Res, and will do paintings and make paper mache birds and animals. Jane suggested that some of the students’ artwork could be exhibited in the display cases at the Town Hall entrance.
Water chestnut harvesting was held on May 19 and 25. Five canoes or kayaks participated on May 19, but Roger Frymire reported that only about 2000 of a million plants were pulled. David White says the Town has money for mechanical harvesting of the whole Res this year but only half
of it next year. (Roger found 800 water chestnuts in Spy Pond, off Sheraton Park, last year but only one this year.) 
A lot of trash was also picked up on May 19 & 25, but there is more already. Leslie suggested trying to get the people who run the swimming program to go around the Res once a week to pick up trash; and/or Parks & Rec could organize an end-of-season cleanup for beach users. Kids could be involved, but we would have to be sure they wore clothing protecting them against poison ivy.
Leslie reported that some people have been tripping on exposed roots on the path around the Res (especially where it borders Busa Farm) and some have suggested covering the exposed roots with some kind of fill. Possible problems: this will hide the roots but some may still protrude just enough to trip people, and rain would wash the soft fill into the Res.
The Town has hired the services of a border collie to chase geese at both Spy Pond and the Res, as a 10-day pilot project. (A few goslings have been seen this spring in both places.)
Town Day is Saturday, Sept. 14. Planning meeting to be held Wednesday, Aug. 28 or Tuesday, Sept 3. Possible items for exhibit: Map of watershed? Topographic map? Old photos? List/timeline of what was done and what remains to be done? Goals adopted by Town Meeting! 

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