TOWN OF ARLINGTON VISION 2020 ENVIRONMENT TASK GROUP
RESERVOIR COMMITTEE
February 3, 2004  Meeting Minutes

In attendance:   Gene Benson, Bill Eykamp, Cathy Garnett, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Ann LeRoyer, Chris Loret, Leslie Mayer, Oakes Plimpton, John Sanchez (DPW), Sharon Stafford, Nathaniel Stevens, David White; Mark Mitch (Weston & Sampson), Roberto Scalese (Arlington Advocate). The meeting was facilitated by Gene Benson.  The minutes are by Elizabeth Karpati.

Next meetings:   February 25 at 6:30 p.m. (2), March 22 (2), April 27 (1), May 25 (1), June 29 (2).
  All except Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Annex in conference room indicated.

Status Report on the Dam Plans
Mark Mitch reported on the status of plans for the dam:
         He consulted 8 agencies (FEMA, Corps of Engineers, etc) and university researchers;  all opposed trees on an earthen dam.
         But an alternative to removing the trees turned up in Minnesota:  there a much bigger earthen dam was made safe by an “I-wall” of linked steel plates driven vertically into the dam and topped by a concrete cap. 
         The state Office of Dam Safety seems receptive to the I-wall solution and has already agreed to having the dam work designed to withstand a 500-year storm rather than the “1/2 PMF” storm        (8” rather than 18” of rain in a 24-hour period).
         The cost of installing an I-wall is estimated to be no more and possibly a bit less than the original plan of removing the trees.  (The capital plan – just a plan – now shows $2.3 million for the dam.)
         A few trees could be lost to damage from the installation work or having their roots cut by the I-wall, but most of the trees, and therefore the appearance and habitat value of the Res, would be
preserved. 
         The top of the concrete cap would be at elevation 163;  the water level in the Res is 158 in the swimming season, 153 in the off-season.
         The concrete cap would be level with the ground, and the wall would be off-center, closer to the water rather than in the middle of the path on the dam, so if erosion exposes a bit of the cap, it would not be a tripping hazard.
         The width of the emergency spillway would still need to be increased by about 50 feet.  Mr. Mitch suggests doing this by adding a second spillway on the downstream side of the bridge from Hurd Field.  The committee agreed to this location. (The Hurd Field bridge is in bad shape:  Mr. Sanchez will look into possibilities for repairing or replacing it.)
         The I-wall solution minimizes disruption and therefore the need for landscaping after the work is done. The plan should include leveling the stump dump, though, so that the area of the present dump could be planted.  Jim Marzilli is organizing volunteers to plant and maintain open spaces in town.  Cathy Garnett is a landscape architect and will look into landscaping issues for the stump dump.

Next steps:
         Mark Mitch will start work on the final design and hopes to have fairly detailed drawings by the end of March.
         The lower-level outlet will need repairs before this summer.
         A lot of permits will be needed for the dam work.  The Reservoir Committee can offer citizen support at permit hearings.
         Lexington authorities will need to be notified.
         Arlington will need to submit an ENF to MEPA.  The ENF will have to be open to public review (but an EIR will probably not need be required).
         We need to have a public meeting on the plans, preferably before going to the Con Com and before Town Meeting – possibly the week of April 19. Mr. Mitch and Mr. Sanchez to suggest timing.
         Mr. Mitch hopes to be ready to put the project out to bid in late August and to have construction start in October or November.  Installing the I-wall would take a couple of months.  If construction is delayed into next year, it should not take place when it would disrupt the breeding season for birds.   It would not interfere with swimming but construction vehicles could take up space in the parking lot.
         Publicity:  Mr. Scalese is reporting for the Advocate.  Leslie and Gene will draft a follow-up article

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