Notes from Reservoir Committee Meeting 6/23/99
7-9 pm, Arlington Town Hall Annex
Attendance: Richard Baron, Eugene Benson, Richard Bento, Jeff
Bienkowski, Susan Brent, Alice Chen, Ralph Elwell, Cathy Garnett, Brian
Hasbrouck Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Geraldine Kaye, Kevin Knobloch,
Leslie Mayer, Jim Marzilli, Sherry Miller, Laura Moore, Angela Olszewski,
Oakes Plimpton, Betsy Schwartz, Susan Wheelock.
The meeting was chaired by Gene Benson. The notes are by Elizabeth
Report from DEM (Dept. of Environmental Management) stated that the Reservoir
dam is not in good shape but does not appear to pose an imminent danger.
Eventually Arlington may have to do what DEM says, but DEM does not
require us to do anything immediately -- we can have a study done and try
to propose a reasonable (and scientifically defensible) alternative to
clearcutting the trees. Once DEM approves a plan, the town will need
to get the necessary permits and funds to do the work.
Richard Bento reported that agreement with consultant (Weston &
Sampson) for a study of the dam is in the works and should come in about
2 weeks. Study is to include:
Study will probably take about 3 months to complete -- results by November?
Breach analysis and simulation to see what would be flooded if the dam
Hydrological analysis of feeder brooks.
Possibility of decommissioning the dam.
Reservoir straddles Arlington/Lexington line; dam is on Arlington
territory but much of the water comes from Lexington. The Lexington Conservation
Commission has been notified.
There have been extreme weather events in the past, e.g. hurricanes
and the 10" rainstorm that flooded the Kenmore subway station, but no record
was kept of what if anything these did to the dam, i.e., we have no real
clue to what future similar events might do.
Middle part of dam (stump dump) is so wide that an uprooted tree couldn't
Mill Brook now floods some abutters' basements in heavy rain, but it
goes around the dam, and has some right angles and culverts, creating inadequate
carrying capacity for the water it gets from all sources (with a small
fraction coming from/through the Res) in a big rainstorm. I.e., doing something
to the dam or even draining the Res wouldn't help this problem. Hydrological
study by consultants will include Mill Brook drainage and flooding problem
to some extent. Then in spring we should try to get Tufts students
to study it as a project.
Decommissioning would mean letting the water out of the reservoir but
letting the dam stand (useful for flood control in future storms --
if it doesn't deteriorate further and break). Creating a wetland in its
place (as done e.g. at Menotomy Rocks park) would be costly and require
a lot of work. Letting the water out would change the habitat a lot
-- no more place for waterfowl.
Discussion of Leslie Mayer's draft questionnaire:
Kathy Garnett will try to get a map of the Res watershed from Mass. GIS.
Needs to be shortened or people won't bother with it. Some specific
suggestions were made at meeting; send any other suggestions to Leslie.
Where/how to take the survey? Have volunteers distribute it at the
swimming area on different days? That would reach only part of the
Res' clientele -- how to get to the rest?
If survey is done before study results are available, it should be fact-finding
only (how do people use the Res). Questions about what should/shouldn't
be done with the Res probably can't be answered reasonably without a lot
Article (about survey results?) planned for Sept. 10, before Town Day on
Committees: Five were proposed but some appear to be premature
at this point. Tasks for now:
Outreach to public:
Keep and disseminate minutes. Use e-mail as much as possible but
make sure people without e-mail get information and copies of minutes.
We should keep a running list of options that have been discussed.
Later: public education and media outreach -- setting up meetings
Financial: for now just try to gather all relevant information, e.g.
that Arlington Conservation Commission has funding for removing water chestnuts
from the Res.
We really have three tasks:
Take part in Vision 2020 booth on Town Day. Conservation Commission
booth will also have something on the Res.
There should be a community (Arlington/Lexington) meeting in the fall,
or more than one? Topics: Report on the study (but have an earlier
informational meeting if results not available until November?) "Visioning."
Invite people who answered the questionnaire (but not only them).
Rep. Marzilli offered help from his two summer interns (available through
July) if we can think of some specific (easily describable) tasks for them.
Find out how safe the dam is.
Figure out how to save the trees and the whole habitat represented by theRes.
Planning for the whole area (including swimming facility & whatever
Next meeting: Wed., July 28, 7:30 pm, Town Hall Annex, Second
Floor Conference Room
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