By Susanne Harrison
At Town Meeting on November 4, the town voted in favor of allocating $50,000 from Community Preservation Funds to the Fawn Lake Conservation Area. This motion was one of several amendments to the fiscal year 2014 Community Preservation Budget, originally adopted at Town Meeting last spring. Funding for Fawn Lake restoration is a continuation of the Town’s efforts to maintain this conservation area as a valuable asset to the Town.
Because Fawn Lake is a shallow, man made pond it has needed occasional restoration to keep it from gradually filling and turning into a meadow. In 1998, Town Meeting appropriated $50,000 to cover the cost of engineering studies, consultant fees and the development of options to proceed with pond restoration. In 2003-2004 and again in 2008-2009 hydroraking was conducted. Herbicides were applied annually and additional hydroraking took place in 2010. Despite these efforts, Fawn Lake is again choked with water lilies and algae.
According to Eugene Clerkin, Chair of the Community Preservation Committee, the allocated funds will enable the Town to map water depth, determine the source of water and evaluate the current level of vegetation in the pond. By gathering this hard data, appropriate decisions can be made to effectively proceed with a restoration project. In addition, the funds will allow for trail realignment work and shoreline restoration. Beavers have impacted the water level of Fawn Lake, and there has been erosion of the pond’s edge, impacting trails and access to fishing areas.
One Town Meeting member questioned the need to spend money making the trails bigger and better in a dedicated conservation area. It was explained that the trail improvements were primarily intended to modify paths away from wet areas and to connect trails in a more logical pattern. The article passed on a voice vote.