Image credit: Easthampton Planning Dept.
After many months of planning, the dredging of both the White Brook and Broad Brook siltation basins will begin on October 5, 2020. The Easthampton Planning Department and Department of Public Works is administering the work. Funding for the project was secured through the Community Preservation Act (CPA) and the Nashawannuck Pond Committee's various fundraising activities. During the dredging work, some trails, including the popular Toteman Trail, may be temporarily unavailable. Attached is a helpful flyer which describes the scope of the project, along with an anticipated timeline for completion.
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.
Family Clean Up Day!
Due to COVID-concerns, the Nashawannuck Pond Committee will not be organizing a City-Wide Clean Up Day event this year. Instead, we decided to get creative using Litterati, an app that empowers individuals to make a significant, measurable impact on the environment by picking up and documenting trash.
During the month of May we will hold the first-ever virtual Easthampton Virtual Clean up MONTH. Our goal will be to engage individuals and families to clean up neighborhood trash and document findings using the Litterati app. At the end of the month we will gather the data, sharing it with city departments and organizations, to brainstorm ways to mitigate future littering.
Please keep your group to your immediate family. This is not intended to be a time for group student activities.
The coronovirus may have closed our school buildings, but that doesn't mean we can't find interesting ways to engage our students in meaningful ways. Are you running out of creative ways to bring the classroom to your students while school is closed? Easthampton Virtual City-Wide Clean Up Month can help!
Charge up your smart phone, grab some trash bags and gloves, gather your family, and walk your neighborhood in search of litter. Let your student help capture the picture, name it (#sodabottle, #cigarette, #plasticstraw) and upload it to the Litterati database. Your litter will be geo-tagged and the precise location logged.
Here's how to participate: DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS
WinterFest flyers will soon be distributed in 150 locations throughout Easthampton, Northampton, Florence and Amherst. If you haven't had a chance to become a sponsor, there's still time.
Download and print flyers for your school, business, or organization. Help spread the word!
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!