Ad Hoc Committee for Fawn Lake Looks Ahead

Consultants from CEI took sample borings at Fawn Lake in the autumn of 2016 – Image (c) Laura Bullock, 2016 all rights reserved – Click to view larger image

Compiled by The Bedford Citizen

The Ad Hoc Committee for Fawn Lake met in early February for an update on the proposed dredging and dam improvements at the site.

The Town’s consultant, CEI, has been tasked to complete design and environmental permitting in order to remove the sediments and reconstruct the existing earthen dam.  The project is being funded through Community Preservation, which will require future requests for the actual work. It is anticipated that the environmental permitting and bid documents will be ready such that the lake could be dredged during the summer/fall of 2018.

Sediment comparisons: Starting with a wet sample on the left, and progressing to the dried material on the right – Image (c) CEI, 2016 all rights reserved – click to view larger image

CEI drew samples of the ‘muck’ at the bottom of the lake and made suggestions for its disposal and/or possible re-use. Since the sediment is remarkably clean and free of contaminants, it could be suitable for multiple uses such as a landfill cap. When completely dried, the material loses 75% of its weight; the end product becomes small chunks that are flat, hard, lightweight, and odorless.

Once the material is dredged from the lake, it will be pressed to initially remove about a third of its weight.  This will make the material easier to move to another location, although where to set up the press operation remains an open question. Once dried, the material could be used as fertilizer or maybe fill.  The Committee discussed locations within Town that could be sited to spread out the pressed material so that it can dry completely.  One Town owned site noted was the Clark Conservation Area off Davis Road.  Currently overrun with invasive plant species, the Clark CA is no longer home to the many native birds who once lived or visited there. Clearing the field, incorporating a layer of the dried material into the existing soil, and reseeding the field with native plant species would restore its natural splendor.

In other business, the committee discussed the dam on the Springs Road side of Fawn Lake. The State has classified the structure as a low hazard, poor condition dam.

The man-made dam stretches along the southeasterly section of the lake, and if this dam were to give way, it could flood several homes on the other side of Springs Road.

The engineers bored down into the ledge and found the lower structure to be relatively stable.  The two samples of the rock core looked like tubes of cement, but are beautifully veined pieces of stone. Committee member Sharon McDonald took the samples (one of Andover Granite, the other of Shawsheen Gneiss) to give to the Bedford Historical Society.

When rebuilt, the new dam will not look like the structures that have been previously built at the Shawsheen Reservoir or Wilson Mill. The existing path will stay in place, and at ground level in front of it, the new dam will extend approximately 10 feet into the lake.

The new structure will have a natural landscape of native grasses, flowers, or perhaps blueberry bushes; a perfect spot to sit and look at the lake, to fish in the summer, or to sit by a bonfire to lace up a pair of ice skates in the cold of winter.

Editor’s Note: Contributors to this article include Laura Bullock, Public Works Engineer Adrienne St. John, and Julie McCay Turner

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5 years ago

I am amused by this: “would restore its natural splendor”. The natural state is wooded, not open field….

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