Early this week, the pond committee was notified by the Easthampton Health Department of a possible cyanobacteria concern reported by a resident. In accordance with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health protocol, an image of the area was sent to the state for further inspection. Upon review, the state determined that there could be a "possible presence of cyanobacteria (algae) cells that may exceed the MDPH guidelines for recreational waterbodies in Massachusetts." The MDPH recommended posting public advisories at all access points of the ponds to notify residents that water should be avoided until further testing could be done over a two week period. Signs are now posted on both Nashawannuck Pond and Lower Mill Pond.
In August 2019 Nashawannuck Pond was closed abruptly due to a visual inspection of a possible cyanobacteria presence. While no cyanobacteria was found after subsequent testing, the action prompted the pond committee to work with city departments to develop a protocol should there be future issues. Working with the Mayor's Office, the Board of Health and the Public Works Department, the committee identified ways to 1) keep the city vigilant regarding water flow and removal of debris quickly, 2) perform expedient and appropriate tests for cyanobacteria as soon as it is suspected. Any costs for testing would be absorbed by the pond committee.
On Thursday, August 6, 2020, pond committee chair, Paul Nowak, collected the water samples from Nashawannuck Pond and drove them to Northeast Laboratories in Berlin Connecticut where they will test for the existence or nonexistence of cyanobacteria. Upon the state's recommendation, we will also pay to test for the presence of microcystins. The report will be presented to the Easthampton Health Department within a 24 turnaround. If the results are negative, a second test will be done seven days later. If both tests are within acceptable limits, the state will be notified and the ban lifted, allowing residents to enjoy the pond, and a local boat rental business return to normal operations.
For more information about Nashawannuck pond, please visit our FAQ page.
Late in the summer of 2019, the pond committee was made aware of the sudden closure of the pond in response to the possibility of a cyanobacteria bloom being present. At the time, the health department followed state protocol which was to send images of a suspected area to the state for visual inspection. This resulted in its closure and delayed reopening which affected residents and businesses from being on the pond. Subsequent water tests were negative for the bacteria.
The committee reviewed the protocol (August 28, 2019 minutes) to help create a pro-active response should this be an ongoing concern in future years. The Easthampton Board of Health has released the new protocol which allows the Nashawannuck Pond Committee to test the water for cyanobacteria before reporting a possible bloom through image identification. The cost for testing would be paid by the pond committee made possible by our ongoing fundraising efforts throughout the year.
The protocol is available on the city website and is attached below. We are pleased to work collaboratively with our city to benefit Easthampton residents and businesses who depend on continued access to our beautiful pond.
December 16, 2019
For Immediate Release
Liz Provo, Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee - WinterFest Chair
City plans 7th Annual Easthampton WinterFest to celebrate winter and raise funds for Nashawannuck Pond.
Easthampton, MA - On Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020 the 7th Annual Easthampton WinterFest will be held in locations throughout the city. The festivities begin Friday evening with the screening of "The Story of Nashawannuck Pond" and a short introduction to "Albert Kiesling", held at Easthampton Media in conjunction with ArtWalk. The festival is organized by the Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee and is a fundraising event created to bring public awareness about ongoing efforts needed to keep Nashawannuck Pond healthy for generations to come. Most activities are free to attend due to generous business sponsorship, and are family friendly. Donations are gladly accepted.
An Historical Ice Harvest on Nashawannuck Pond features historian, Dennis Picard. Participants can try their hands at using a pond saw to "harvest" blocks of ice as they learn about Easthampton's part in the area's ice industry. Other outdoor activities include a nature walk at Arcadia and draft horse wagon rides.
Indoor activities include a Craft & Vendor Fair with over 90 vendors, a student recital by The Prindle School, student art show and art workshops, Salsa dance lessons, cupcake decorating, kid's dance party, magic and comedy shows, a family movie on the big screen, and the annual Chili Cook Off. The results of the city-wide Albert Kiesling snow sculpture contest, chili cook off and scavenger hunt winners will be held at Easthampton High School at 3PM. Bring the kids, grandparents, friends and out of area visitors and make it a day in Easthampton.
Adult fun includes the return of the popular Ice Bar outdoors at the Brass Cat, featuring ice carvings by Mike Rondeau, and WinterFest On Tap with live music at Abandoned Building Brewery. To view activities, please visit the event calendar: https://www.nashawannuckpond.org/winterfest.html.
More information about sponsorship and volunteering are available on the pond's website: www.nashawannuckpond.org. For up to date information, join our mailing list, follow Nashawannuck Pond on Facebook and our Facebook events. All outdoor events are weather permitting and may be cancelled without notice.
Thank you everyone who submitted an image for our first photo contest. We are thrilled to announce the winner, whose image will appear on our new Recycled, Reusable Tote Bags is . . . .
Michael will receive 5 complimentary bags as a token of our appreciation, and of course "bragging rights"! We will have the bags available for WinterFest, or sooner, if possible.
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for helping us reduce the cost of manufacturing: Finck & Perras Insurance Agency, Cider House Media, and Union Street Bistro & Bakery. Also, Gigantic, Mantis Graphics, Parson's Closet, the Water's Fine, Events of Joy, Mary Ann's Dance and More, Taylor Real Estate and Valley Paddler.
Thank you also to Pat Brough, who graciously supplied an image to dress up the back of our bag. We hope to see many, many totes around Easthampton in the months ahead.
Thank you, everyone!
A scheduled chemical treatment to control nuisance vegetation for Nashawannuck Pond will occur on July 26, 2019. Solitude Lake Management has been contracted by the City of Easthampton as the herbicide applicator. The application should take approximately two hours. A small watercraft will be launched from the City boat ramp.
As per notice published by Solitude Lake Management: Drinking and cooking are prohibited until 7/29; boating, fishing, swimming are prohibited the day of the treatment; watering of livestock is prohibited until 7/27; and irrigation is prohibited until 7/29.
All necessary permits have been obtained and work approved by Mass DEP. An Order of Conditions has been issued by the Easthampton Conservation Commission. A DEP file number sign and water restriction sign will be located at the Boardwalk area and the area known as "Boathouse Beach".
The Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee has been working very hard for several years on a major project that is critical to the survival of the pond. The Broad Brook and White Brook Siltation Project involves the removal of sediment collected by the Gabion Weir, located just inside Nonotuck Park and the siltation basin located at the end of the pond bordering Nonotuck Park and fed by Broad Brook.
Why is sediment getting into the pond?
Think of where the pond is located. All the sand and run-off from the Mountain Road and the Hendrick Street culverts eventually finds its way into the lowest level - Nashawannuck Pond. In fact, we have lost almost 50% of our beautiful pond. If we do not repair the containment areas, the pond will continue to shrink. We can never reclaim the lost acreage. In 2009 the pond was partially dredged which resulted in deepening it in several areas. It was a requirement that these devices were in place before dredging.
What has the pond committee done to fix the problem?
The original devices were permitted in 1992 at a cost of about $40,000 and have worked extremely well. We were able to pay for that through extensive fundraising and grants. Both devices are now full and overflowing, impairing their intended function. In order to clean them out in accordance with very strict wetland regulations and anticipated expenses, the project is estimated to cost $301,000. We have all the permits in place and have invested in the preparatory work to begin the project. Unfortunately, there are no federal/state/private grants available on a scale this large. We have turned to the Community Preservation Act (CPA) for consideration.
This last month, Paul Nowak, Chair and Gary Golas,Consultant presented a comprehensive report to the CPA committee. While some members of the committee are very familiar with the pond needs over the years and we believe are very supportive of our request, other members feel that more information would help them make an informed decision before allocating over $300.000. We understand and respect that. One question the committee had was, "How do we know there is public interest in this? While it's hard to imagine anyone not loving the pond, we need to know that this is a worthwhile investment in the health of our pond for years to come.
The committee will be meeting on July 10th at 6PM in the lower level of 50 Payson Ave. to vote on the amount of money it is able to contribute to the project. The public is welcomed to attend.
We have asked for letters of support from the Mayor and Park & Rec, and welcome additional letters of support from organizations and residents.
If you can come to the next CPA meeting and voice your support, that would be great too. It will be on Thursday, July 18 at 6:30 in the Conference Room at 50 Payson Ave.
We hope to see you there.
The Easthampton Rod and Gun Club is pleased to announce the 34th Annual Junior Trout Fishing Derby on Saturday, May 18th from 6AM - 2PM on the shore of Nashawannuck Pond. The event is rain or shine and registration is held the day of the event.
If you have questions, please contact the Easthampton Rod and Gun Club, https://www.facebook.com/TheEtonrodandgun/
FYI - this is not a city sponsored event and we have limited information available.