On September 19, the Rochester Conservation Commission met with Peter Newton of Bristol Engineering Advisors regarding the monitoring of water levels at Snows Pond.
Newton’s services were part of an agreement reached with Decas Cranberry Company after concerns were raised over dewatering activities associated with the construction of a tailwater recovery pond. Residents and the Conservation Commission became increasingly alarmed that those activities were actually drawing down the water table associated with the pond.
Newton had placed a monitoring device in the pond. However, that device subsequently went missing and has never been found. He was back to address any lingering questions the commissioners had regarding ongoing study and his conclusions.
“The pond seems to have rebounded fairly well,” Newton said. He added that data initially gathered from the device and use of other monitoring services in the region seemed to suggest that a great deal of surface water in the area was “holding up the numbers.” But he also said that in spite of it being difficult to quantify the magnitude of the dewatering activities, he could say it “had depressed the pond’s level from a few inches to a half foot.”
The commission voted to extend monitoring activities through the winter and to ask Decas Cranberry Company to replace the monitoring device so that historical data collection could resume.
Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon said that if the device stayed in beyond this specific project, the Mattapoisett River Valley Water District might include the site in their data collection work.
The commission also discussed adopting Massachusetts General Law Chapter 44 Section 53G, a law that would give them the power to request outside peer review consultants. Farinon said that although their current wetlands regulations allow peer review fees to be paid for by applicants, the scope was rather narrow and specific. With the adoption of the MGL, their latitude in requesting such assistance from applicants would be greater.
Farinon also said that the commission could adopt the legislation without going before Town Meeting. This was confirmed with Town Counsel Blair Bailey, she said.
The vote was unanimous to adopt the law.
A request for a Certificate of Compliance by Daniel and Deborah Carr Clark for property located at 258 Mary’s Pond Road was tabled. Commissioner Daniel Gagne and Chairman Michael Conway felt that changes to the plan of record warranted an appearance before the commission explaining those deviations.
One other matter handled by the commission was a Notice of Intent filing. Rick Charon of Charon & Associates represented John Gurney for property located at 2 New Bedford Road. The NOI filing had been continued from September 5, at which time the commissioners wanted a letter from an abutter stipulating they had no problem with a remediation area near their property line. Gurney plans to sub-divide the parcel to create an uplands lot, to build a roadway to the lot and to construct a single-family home. The project was approved and conditioned.
The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is scheduled for October 3 at 7:00 pm in the town hall conference room.
By Marilou Newell