April 8, 2002  Meeting Notes

In attendance:   Gene Benson, Ralph Elwell, Roger Frymire, Brian Hasbrouck, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Leslie Mayer, David White. 
The meeting was facilitated by Gene Benson. The minutes are by Elizabeth Karpati.

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, May 14, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Annex, First Floor
Conference Room. 

Dam update from Rich Bento (via e-mail):

  • He requested a cost-benefit analysis of “removing” the dam and the effects on Mill Brook from the consultants, Weston & Sampson. (“Removal” does not mean complete destruction of the dam, just making it unable to hold back water. Unclear whether removal of the gate would be sufficient and whether any water at all, e.g. winter level, could remain in the Res.) W&S propose:
    1. Hydrologic evaluation of estimated flood discharges without the dam, compared with figures from the Maguire and FIS (Flood Insurance Study) studies.
    2. Hydraulic modeling of the (presumably) increased height and spread of flooding without the dam.
    3. Hydraulic improvement needs and costs to prevent worse flooding without the dam.

  • The proposed study would cost $135,000, but if conditions in the watershed have changed since the previous studies, a new one would be useful. (Most of the Maguire study’s recommendations, e.g. increasing the capacity of the conduits under the high school field, have not been carried out.) 

  • The issue of the Res dam is about safety, not flood control. Mill Brook floods despite the Res; not having the Res dam would just make flooding worse. The Town Manager thinks maybe the Town should deal with the flooding problem first and then the Res. 

  • The proposed study would deal only with the area downstream from the Res and would not address the problem of the swimming area (water leakage if Res water level is not high in summer). The consultant for the Great Meadows study thought rebuilding the dam at Fottler Ave. would have a positive effect on Mill Brook flooding.

  • Rich Bento will meet with the Town Manager on April 10 about the proposed study. A couple of committee members should attend if possible. [Result: A study of how to improve the Mill Brook flooding situation would be a better use of funds than the above proposal. W&S will present plans for such a study in a few weeks; the Town Manager plans to go before the Selectmen in late May for “direction setting and approval.”]

Warrant Article:

To be presented to Town Meeting by Leslie and either Gene or David, probably late April. Ralph will make the presentation at the Warrant Review, April 10.  Handouts: text of article and Res map.

Water chestnut harvest:

Roger Frymire explained the manual harvesting he did in Alewife Brook, etc., and at the Res after the mechanical harvesting sponsored by the Con Com these last two years. 

This year there is less money available for the Res (#15,000 in budget, enough for about half the pond), so an early manual harvest would be advisable. He estimates that 10 to 20 people could do the whole Res, once the plants have grown enough to reach the water’s surface, about mid-May. (No reason to harvest seeds on shore, they are only husks.)  

  • The Con Com’s 3-year permit covers both manual and mechanical harvesting, is still good for this year.

  • We decided on a cleanup starting the weekend of May 18, including a shoreline cleanup for people without boats; additional days as needed. 

  • Cleanup can be advertised at Town Meeting (Jane) and at the High School (SAVE and the Vision 2020 group); also in Lexington. We should aim to get about 100 person/days.

  • Boats: The high school has some for outdoor education. People with kayaks/canoes who can’t participate can help by loaning their craft. All boats would have to be cleaned carefully afterwards to avoid spreading the water chestnuts! 

  • Gene will send out an e-mail asking for a volunteer organizer.  Elizabeth has leftover trash bags from the bountiful supply received from DPW for last year’s Spy Pond cleanup. Leslie will make sure that the parking lot gate is unlocked on cleanup days.

Should we broaden our scope and become the Res / Mill Brook Committee?   Topic for next meeting.


Regular meetings:  Tuesday, May 14;  Tuesday, June 11;  all at 7:30 PM.

All meetings in first floor room of Town Hall Annex except June meeting, which is on second floor.  

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