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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Clarkson

March 2022 Ponderings

Updated: Nov 18, 2022


Ponderings For the Friends of White Pond

March, 2022

Winter at White Pond:

Rime frosts the grass fringing the snowy banks; frozen deer tracks dot the sand; a mother bear and her cub compete with patient ice anglers for a tasty bite of fish; yet the algae still bloom, their mustard-colored swirls glinting through the frigid flow. Even at this time of rest, eutrophication persists.

The White Pond Advisory Committee (WPAC)’s mission is to protect White Pond. In conjunction with the Concord Division of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Concord Board of Health (BoH), they have been working toward solutions for a successful summer season. Below are updates on several of these plans and programs.

WPAC and BoH Water Testing Program Update: Under the auspices of the WPAC, the DNR, and the BoH, and funded by the town of Concord, Nancy Leland, limnologist with the University of New Hampshire, has been contracted to conduct water quality testing throughout the spring and summer. The testing will ensure that residents are not swimming in unsafe water conditions, but will also be utilized for collection and data analysis that will be helpful to predict conditions that may lead to harmful algal blooms (HAB’s). The BoH will continue its E Coli testing of both the town beach and the Dover Street beach. Jon Higgins, owner of Higgins Engineering Services, will again deploy the A-Pod, funded by the town of Concord, in various sections of the pond. Additionally, the A-Pod will be fitted with a zooplankton sanctuary, as zooplankton have been severely diminished in the pond over the years. Zooplankton are an important contributor to keeping the cyanobacteria at bay.

Visitor Management Update: Increasing usage pressure on White Pond continues and WPAC is very concerned. Continuation and opening of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail will bring more visitors to the perimeter of the pond than ever before. Additionally, the construction of the Quarry North Development with over 425 housing units will have an impact on this environment. Thus, visitor management becomes of paramount concern. The WPAC met with Concord Chief of Police O’Connor to discuss management of the town beach and Sachem’s Cove. Chief O’Connor emphasized that citizens concerned about behavior or ill use of the land or parking should call the Concord police. WPAC will also investigate whether parking at the Cummings building in Sudbury can be signed no parking for the pond, and if Sudbury police can be called to enforce parking violations. A question remains whether the gate to the White Pond beach parking lot can be closed at dusk and opened at dawn. This may be a town management decision.

Beach Construction Update: Unfortunately, 26 additional trees will be sacrificed because they are diseased or in the way of construction, so the total number of trees sacrificed for the ADA path and roadway will be 47. This was approved by the DNR on March 2nd.

Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Update: Due to new state rules, the iron fencing that had originally been planned for the pond trails has been dismissed. The town planner, the WPAC and the DNR, are working with the BFRT committee to convince MASSDOT to reinstate the original fencing. If they are unsuccessful, they will try to lobby the state through local representatives.

Signage Update: Signs stipulating carry in/carry out, no swimming, and algal bloom warnings, will be added to the White Pond trail head, trails, and Sachem’s Cove this spring.

Septic Update: WPAC met with Public Works to discuss a sewer plan for the White Pond watershed. Although such a plan was voted down at Town Meeting in 2000, attitudes may have changed, and there may be a way for the Select Board to put money aside for betterments. WPAC will continue to meet with Public Works and the Select Board to discuss creating a plan.

Fish Stocking Update: The WPAC continues to discuss fish stocking with the Division of Fish and Games. Via a request by WPAC, Senator Mike Barrett authored a letter to Massachusetts Fish & Game requesting that the stocking of Rainbow Trout be halted in order to help protect the Pond from the HAB’s. Fish and Game responded that anglers enjoy fishing and stocking would continue. WPAC with the Select Board have sent another plea, stating that the intent is not to stop all stocking, but only Rainbow Trout. Recent scientific publications point to the fact that trophic interactions with increased trout stocking decreased zooplankton abundance and increasing phytoplankton biovolume and that total phosphorus increases with trout stocking, possibly due to phosphorus in trout excretion or in increased phytoplankton biovolume. The most recent studies concluded that “...the analysis results indicate that algae blooms or cyanotoxin production may be significantly affected by trout stocking in some lakes.”

Discussion is also underway to host a fishing derby followed by examination of the contents of the fish stomachs, as this could provide information on which species are eating the important algae-controlling zooplankton and guide the selection of which fish to stock, potentially reducing the nutrient content in the pond.

Website Updates: The town will add a new White Pond Watershed page to its concordma.gov website, with updates regarding the pond, testing, closures, etc. They will also update social media and News and Notices regarding testing and closures. Please add your email address to the town website to directly receive these notices. The Friends of White Pond have a website, https://www.friendsofwhitepond.org/ as well as a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/friendsofwhitepond,. Please add you name and email address to either of the latter’s membership pages to be kept up to date.

The White Pond Youth Conservation Group Update: Coordinated by Jane Prentiss, the group plans to participate in the DNR’s annual Town wide litter clean-up of roadways and public lands on Saturday, March 26th, beginning at 9:30 AM. The area of focus will be the fields by the boat ramp on Plainfield Road, the White Pond Well land, the Conservation land, Reservation land and White Pond shoreline. We will meet at the access to the conservation land off Dover St. for assignments.


The Pine Knolls Subdivision is comprised of a series of Private Ways. The responsibility of storm water drainage and road pavement currently lies with the abutter holding frontage on each way. The White Pond Youth Conservation coordinated the cleaning of the storm drains filled with sediment so they would meet the EPA’s MS4 storm water guidelines which states drains should not reach more than 50 percent of their capacity. Other construction issues occur with the drains around White Pond and are not part of an integrated system or plan. Cleaning of sediment does not address this broader problem. Further discussion on a legal association to adequately address pavement, drainage, and utilities including sewer on our Private Ways is needed.

Native pollinator plants will be offered at local farm stands in Concord as part of the Agricultural Committee initiative, Mr. Verrill announced recently. Homeowners can plant native plants on our slopes within 100 feet of the wetlands by right. It’s a win-win great for the environment and helps to prevent soil erosion around White Pond.

A Plea for 501c3: The Friends of White Pond is a citizens’ group, organized in 1987, charged with preserving and protecting the water quality of White Pond. Donations to the organization have contributed to drainage and erosion control management, septic system pumping programs, and education. It has not been organized into a 501c3 due to a lack of staffing and expertise. Perhaps someone would be willing and able to step up and lead the effort to become a non-profit so that funding could be better encouraged, managed and available. For more information, please contact Kate Blair at kdblair46@aol.com. Thank you for your continuing support of the Friends of White Pond. To keep current on all things White Pond, please consider adding your email address to the website above, the town of Concord’s News and Notices page, and watch for further ways to stay informed.

Please send donations to: The Friends of White Pond, 20 Darton Street, Concord, MA 01742.

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