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Dams, Dams and Dams

by Bill Tobin
February 12, 2013

The Conservation Commission met on Tuesday, February 12 ...

... and dams, man-and beaver-made. were topics of discussion.

The Conservation Commission addressed the dam  issue

L-R Chuck Katuska, Sherie O"Brien, Chris Bajduk, Ann Marie Pilch, Allen Rutberg, Rebecca Weisman, James McGrath, Richard Maccagnano.

The water levels in the  Winthrop Canal are at an all time high, approaching emergency status, and that is now, before substanial rain or melting snow, concerns and complaints are frequently expressed by abuttors and neighbors of the canal to town officials.  The Highway Department has requested permission to lower the levels of the several beaver constructed dams in case of emergency. The commission agreed that the HWD could act accordingly.

Nat Simkins of Arch Street and Janice Miller of Winthrop Street described in detail the activity of the beavers in constructing the dams and problems they create. When the height of the dams are reduced, it is only a temporary solution as these active beavers will simply reconstruct. It is a major complex problem that must be addressed. Another concern is the high water level in the culverts and the beaver activity within the culverts. This should also be addressed.  

The large scale project on the Winthrop Canal must consider historic restoration, emergency management and may qualify for Federal funds. This project is more than just contolling beavers.


Karen Fung, the official Dam Safety Officer, requested the removal of trees within 10 feet of the Houghton Pond Dam, Lake Winthrop Dam and Factory Pond Dam, and 15 feet of the Weston Pond Dam. As trees may blow over and pull up the earthen embankment with the overturned root balls, it is desirable to remove them from the dam areas. In addition, growing roots may displace, compact, or otherwise harm the earth and stone materials of the dam.

Linden Pond is non-jurisdictional, but it is recommended that trees be removed within the 10 foot dam area.

The board of Conservation Commissioners agreed with this proposal.


Posted in Green.

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Comments (8)

We are going to get the canal issue on the schedule for the next Board of health meeting so keep reading the Holliston Reporter for more details maybe we can do a volunteer cleanup with the blessing of the variouse town boards.

- nat Simkins | 2/19/13 2:25 PM

Let me know come spring

- Andrew Mades | 2/16/13 5:49 PM

Trust me Andrew it is an issue but this is some hard core New England swamp. The East side is all wetlands. Would love to get some volunteers together to do this bring waders chainsaws and chains to drag out the trees should be fun.

- Nat Simkins | 2/14/13 2:34 PM

If it really is an issue we should get a group together to clean up the banks. Like how the conservation commission gets volunteers?

- Andrew Mades | 2/14/13 9:35 AM

1st great picture you caught me dozing. 2nd I have lived at 32 Arch for 31 years and only 1 time has the state mosquito control cleaned the banks of debris. This is a town wide issue EEE and West Nile virus were only a town away last summer. The beavers are headed downtown if you have a willow or other soft tree look out.

- Nat Simkins | 2/13/13 11:47 AM

Please tell us more about the Winthrop Canal.

- Jennifer Deland | 2/13/13 10:21 AM


- pub | 2/13/13 8:45 AM

The Winthrop Canal is the stream that goes through mudvill and under Central street right?

- Andrew Mades | 2/13/13 7:25 AM



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