TOWN OF ARLINGTON VISION 2020 ENVIRONMENT TASK GROUP
RESERVOIR COMMITTEE
September 8, 2003  Meeting Minutes


In attendance:    Gene Benson, Bryan Hasbrouck, Elizabeth Karpati, Ed Koenig,, Leslie Mayer, Walter Phillips, John Sanchez (DPW), David White; Roberto Scalese (Arlington Advocate). 
The meeting was facilitated by Leslie Mayer.  The minutes are by Elizabeth Karpati.

Next meeting:   October 15, 2003, at 6:45 p.m. (note new time!)  TownHall Annex, First Floor

Dam Update:   John Sanchez gave a report on the dam situation:
Mr. Sanchez is up to date on the project, having reviewed the documents to date and met with his predecessor, Rich Bento, and with Mark Mitch of Weston & Sampson Consultants.
There has been no change in the plans, and no action, since the committee drafted a letter for Mr. Farrington to send to the Selectmen in the summer of 2002 – they probably did not meet on this.  
Mr. Sanchez has signed a contract with Weston & Sampson to do a “25%” design which can be reviewed by DPW and the committee.  He is hoping it will be ready in December or January.  Permitting will be a 15-month process.
Town Meeting has appropriated $475,000 in the capital fund.  The design is expected to cost about $120,000.  The rest would pay for only part of the construction, so more would have to be requested in 2004.  Half the construction money must be available before the project can be put out to bid.
Some unanswered questions at this point:  
(1)  Do we have a definite commitment from DEM [now DCR] to allow planning for the 500-year storm rather than the “half of maximum possible” storm?        
(2)  How wide must the enlarged spillway be?   
(3)  Just where must trees must be removed?  The old DEM was concerned about leaving any, but if part of the dam is a natural knoll, it would probably be safe to leave any trees growing on it.
Mr. Farrington was inclined to broaden his concern to look at the whole question of Mill Brook flooding, but the study proposed by W&S would cost $200,000, and much of the flooding comes from Sickle Brook, which bypasses the Res, and from storm drains directly into the brook, so Mr. Sanchez doesn’t think such a study is worth while.  (There was a study of the whole Mill Brook about 20 years ago — the Maguire Report – but hardly any of its recommendations were implemented.)
A PR problem looms in any case because if anything is done at the Res, people will expect it to improve the flooding situation.
Increasing the size of culverts to prevent flooding just passes the problem downstream.  The Peirce Field reconstruction will replace old worn-out culverts but not enlarge them.
Another unresolved question:  Could we leave the trees alone if we did not use the dam to impound water?  Then we couldn’t use the swimming area without (costly) waterproofing.  We would also lose whatever flood-control help we get from closing the gate and letting the Res fill up in a heavy rain (but we don’t know how much flooding that prevents).
Mr. Sanchez stated that landscaping would be part of the project, so that we are not left with a safe eyesore.  Safety, environmental, and recreational needs must be balanced.  The committee wants to see the stump dump redesigned as a garden.  A study would be needed to see whether the material dumped there has to be removed or whether it can be stabilized.  Parks & Rec wants to include the Res in its capital plan for recreational improvements.

Other matters:
Lowering the water level in the Res is about to start. The process takes a couple of weeks.
Water chestnuts were down to a level which could be hand harvested from a boat with rakes in one day, saving most of the money that had been appropriated for mechanical harvesting.   Desirables:  (1)  Annual inspection to nip any resurgence in the bud.  The cost of this should be
included in the maintenance budget (also the cost of egg addling).  (2) Checklist of annual maintenance needs.
Town Day, September 13:  Handouts:  Res booklet (we can’t charge for it since it was printed with CDBG  funds); bird list (also printed in booklet); list of Menotomy Bird Club trips at Res.
Summer activities report:  People were pleased to see clearer water, fewer water chestnut husks, fewer geese.  Leslie has a wish list to discuss at the next meeting.
For next meeting:  Committee focus for next year.  Fund-raising?  Try for garden-planting grants?  Move the fence to provide year-round access to playground?  Signage?  Wish list (see above).

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