By Elizabeth Hacala
The Community Preservation Committee met on Thursday, January 10 to hear several projects they will vote on for this year’s Town Meeting recommendations. The largest is a request to recommend a $1.8M bond authorization from CPA funds for hydraulic dredging of Fawn Lake.
Over the past several years there have been many attempts to address the fish kills and other water quality issues at Fawn Lake, including hydro-raking and herbicides. An ad hoc Fawn Lake committee was formed in 2015 to look at the lake and determine what if any steps could be taken. Selectman Margot Fleischman said the committee had looked at over a dozen possibilities from the most extreme to doing nothing and hydraulic dredging had risen as the best suggestion. The committee presented examples of how hydraulic dredging might be performed and said that the goal of the project was to have 60 percent open water at the lake. The project is expected to restore a significant portion of the lake to its original state and gain many decades of open water and a healthier environment for fish and other wildlife.
Conservation Administrator Elizabeth Bagdonas said there are three varieties of water lily living in the lake and that those plants do best in water shallower than 4-5 feet. By hydraulically dredging a portion of the lake to the original 8-foot depth the plants would simply not be able to grow in those areas. Also, the dredging itself would break up and remove the water lily tubers from the targeted area. Committee member Don Corey shared that the water lilies had been originally planted in the lake by Dr. William R. Hayden so he could include them in his products.
Town Engineer Adrienne St. John told the committee that there is a dam on the lake that is also in need of repair and that the construction of a new dam would take place at the same time to reduce overall costs. The current dam is a simple earthen mound. The new dam would have a metal structure covered by earthen materials and would last longer and blend into the natural surroundings as the current dam does.
There was a great deal of discussion about how the dredged material and water would be handled. The Fawn Lake Committee shared that the water would be filtered and returned to the pond while the physical material would be dried and removed from the site. Selectman Fleischman said that testing done in the lake showed no hazardous materials in the sediment. There was some discussion among committee members about the increase in traffic during the project. Selectman Fleischman said there was strong support from the neighborhood for the project and that the town would be proactive about informing the community. Most of this work would take place when school is out of session so there would not be bus traffic and the volume of trucks would be significantly lower than during other recent projects in town.
This project and all other submissions slated for CPC consideration this budget cycle will be discussed during the public hearing on January 24 at 7:30 pm in the Town Hall.
There is a brief history of Fawn Lake on the town web site: https://www.bedfordma.gov/conservation-commission/pages/history-of-fawn-lake