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Something smells fishy - Daily Times Chronicle - 12-7-15

Something Smells Fishy
Daily Times Chronicle
Posted: Monday, December 7, 2015 12:00 pm

Posted on Dec 7, 2015 by Ryan LaRoche

WINCHESTER - If the town installs a fish ladder at the Center Falls Dam (behind Town Hall), residents can thank the superfund trust created as a result of the EPA enforcement of pollution abatement of the Aberjona river for supplying the funding.
According to Town Counsel Wade Welch, the town has been asked to comment on the coordination of this potential project with the construction of the remaining flood improvement projects and the operation and maintenance of the flood control projects when completed.
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The project will work with the fish ladder already installed at Midlakes Dam to allow fish to pass through Horn Pond and beyond. It had been previously discussed as part of the original construction specifications for the Center Falls Dam, but wasn't installed do to lack of funding.
With a funding source found, Welch said the following issues should be considered:
• Permitting: The additional federal and state permits needed to construct the fish ladder include modifications of the Ch. 91 license and of the USACE general permit 1;
• Timing: The construction of the ladder needs to take into consideration the time of year restriction imposed by the Mass. Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF) that says no work can be done during migration season, April - June;
• Operation and maintenance: Once completed, the town should enter into an agreement with the DMF to coordinate water removal prior to major flood events with minimum requirements of water levels required to promote fish migration and spawning.
Welch mentioned other projects and noted that there will be a need for minor grading the emergency spillway at Scalley Dam to increase fish passability. Perhaps the funding source for the fish ladder could be used to fund the Scalley Dam improvement, Welch opined.
His recommendation was for Town Manager Richard Howard to forward the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Marine Fisheries for their review and comment. He also recommended that VHB, the town's flood team, DPW Director Jay Gill, and Conservation Administrator Elaine Vreeland meet and discuss effective operation and maintenance issues associated with operation of the flood program improvements and maximizing their compatibility with fish migration and spawning.
Fish ladder
Jake San Antonio, of VHB, said that in order to construct the ladder panels could be removed. It would take a couple of months of construction. He estimated the cost at $200,000-$250,000.
Thanks to the superfund settlement, there would be no cost to the town. In order to receive the necessary funds, the Town Manager will have to write a letter to the trustees overseeing the fund. The Board of Selectmen voted to allow such a letter to be written. They also asked to include phase design funding.

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