"Boathouse Beach prior to new boat launch" Photo Credit: Liz Provo
Boathouse Beach Project
from the report . . . .Site 3: Town Beach
The Town Beach was chosen as a demonstration site because of its visible nature and the current degraded condition. A steep, unvegetated embankment extends from Water Lane down to the Pond. This site has been used as a roadway snow storage area and a dumping ground for neighborhood yard wastes. According to Mayor Tautznik, Easthampton Department of Public Works no longer uses the Town Beach area for snow storage and instead removes the snow from the area. The asphalt driveway at the top of the slope combined with the unvegetated steep slope down to the Pond results in increased erosion and sedimentation because there is no vegetation to slow the runoff down and promote infiltration.
CSLD provided several recommendations for a more environmentally friendly development. This educational demonstration site featured several improvements to minimize erosion and the resulting nonpoint source pollution from the site. The proposed Best Management Practices for this site include:
• Create a formal boat launch ramp;
• Provide parking just off Water Lane;
• Planting the southeastern slopes with woody vegetation;
• Discontinue all dumping practices including snow storage and residential yard wastes;
• Vegetate all soil surfaces with native species;
• Manage invasive exotic species;
• Create a vegetated swale or depression to slow down runoff and allow sediments to settle before reaching the Pond; and
• Stabilize the slopes with vegetation and terracing to
reduce the risk of severe erosion.
The "NASHAWANNUCK POND WATERSHED RESTORATION PROJECT" (Project No. 1998-05/319) commissioned by The City of Easthampton, the Advisory Committee and Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, identified the Town Beach, also known as Boathouse Beach, as one of three educational demonstration area sites. We have included the case study prepared by the Conway School of Landscape Design (CSLD) utilizing good watershed management practices. The full report is available on our Resources page.
A temporary effort was made to help stabilize further erosion of the beach area in 2012, made possible through funds donated by the Pascommuck Trust Conservancy. The volunteer effort resulted in creating a designated vehicle parking area near Water St., allowing pedestrian and emergency access only to the pond's edge. While not initially a popular decision, this was a necessary step toward preserving the area.
In 2013, the Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee applied to the The Department of Fish & Game to determine if a boat ramp could be constructed on the pond to improve access. The application was accepted late in the year and will, in conjunction with the Public Access Board, allow the Fish & Game to design, construct, and maintain a boat ramp, parking spaces and an informational board at Boathouse Beach. The cost, which will be absorbed by Fish & Game is expected to be in the $100,000 range.
The boat ramp was completed in 2015 and includes paved parking, a ramp, porta-potty and public information board.