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Outstanding Meeting on Lake Cochituate

Quick Notes from Lake Cochituate (LC) Abutter “Rally” Meeting, Wed., January 22, 2014, at Natick Town Hall

 • Utilizing his 10/23/13 powerpoint, Lake Cochituate Watershed 2013 Update, Mike Lowery made another excellent presentation focusing on recent progress and work that still needs to be done.  He also answered a number of good questions from the audience.

 • He wrapped up w/ a brief overview of DCR’s proposed plan for this year (2014) and years ahead, specifically how they’re planning to use roughly 44K to improve LC, mostly concentrating on weed management.  He had met earlier in the day w/ with Ann Carrol, Steve Asen, Tom Flannery, (perhaps other state and DCR folks) via telephone conf. call.  This plan (a Lycott Proposal) is rather large (40 pages), but interesting and clearly worth reading.  I can send along the pdf file.

 • Despite frigid weather (one of the coldest nights of the year) we had an encouraging turnout.  I counted 22 people (including LCWC folks).  Mike Lowery, (noted above, Wayland Surface Water Quality Committee, Chair, Wayland Department of Public Works, Project Manager, Lake Cochituate Watershed Council --LCWC), Sandra Brennan (Chair of CSPAC, Cochituate State Park Advisory Committee) contributed a number of good points.  Meghan Walters, (the Asst. Con Com Officer in Framingham) also attended, along with Nick Mabardy, (Natick Board of Selectman), Lynwood Bradford (Wayland Surface Water Quality Committee), Candy Houlton, (Natick Environmental Coalition, Bob Watjen, (Natick Trails Maintenance Committee), Chet Tangerini (LC Boat and Ski Club), Doug Milch (Advisor, Natick HS Earth Club, plus several abutters and neighbors of the Lake.

 • We made a strong pitch to join us in mobilizing a broad coalition to “nudge” the powers that be (DCR, Mass DOT, local boards and Con Coms, abutters, neighbors, grassroots organizations) to heal our Lake and Watershed. 

 • Mike and other participants cited the significance of Martin Pillsbury’s MAPC  2004 definitive study on LC and the Watershed, sadly the bulk of which holds true 10 years later.  Lack of funding (and perhaps political will) have prevented/delayed work on many of these key recommendations, particularly in terms of storm water (nonpoint source) pollution.

 • Thus we focused part of the meeting on storm water runoff and the issues underlying (causing) the serious invasion of weeds and other pollutants.  People raised a number of good questions and observations, e.g., what’s going to happen w/ Pegan Cove?  What about those catch basins that don’t “work” like they’re designed to?  How often are they cleaned out?  What about healthy lawns and landscapes?

 • LC’s dubious distinction of ”making” the EPA’s infamous “303d” listing (most impaired water body status) begged the question: how can we collect reliable water quality data to push forward our agenda and tap additional sources of funds.  Several people were interested in joining a volunteer group that would  take samples from key outfalls and the mouths of our “sub watersheds,” e.g. Beaver Dam Brook, Course Brook, Pegan Brook, and Snake Brook.  We will investigate sources of funding for this project and push DCR Lakes and Ponds to join with us in the effort. 

 • By and large people left the meeting energized and determined to join us in this struggle.  We expect to hold another meeting in the next 6 – 8 weeks.  We’ll keep you posted; don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions and suggestions.  We need your help. 

---thanks, Pat Conaway, LCWC

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