January 2008: Although rehabilitation of open space with CPA funds is not allowed on existing municipal open space, several CPA communities have used CPA funds to preserve important water resources that are integral to their unique character. Water-related projects have taken several different forms - from purchasing land for the protection of drinking water sources to eliminating invasive species from key water bodies.
You might wonder how water preservation projects relate to the purpose of CPA. Section 2 of the CPA statute defines open space as including “land to protect existing and future well fields, aquifers and recharge areas, watershed land…fresh and salt water marshes and other wetlands, ocean, river, stream, lake and pond frontage, beaches…and other coastal lands” (M.G.L. ch. 44B, section 2).
Projects in Tyngsborough and Harvard, highlighted below, illustrate how CPA funds can be used for these projects.
Tyngsborough Lake Mascuppic Invasive Species Control
Lake Mascuppic, a great pond owned by the Commonwealth, was overrun with weeds and invasive species when the town decided to use CPA funds for its preservation. Previously, the Lake Mascuppic Association tried to rid the lake of weeds, but could not fund the project on its own. The availability of CPA funds, combined with private donations to the Association continues to make the cleanup possible.
The project is in its third year and receives about 30 percent of its funding for weed removal from CPA. This project helped result in the town beach reopening for the first time in several years, and each year the water quality continues to improve.
For more information, view a letter from DOR to Tyngsborough Town Counsel, and visit the Lake Mascuppic Association website.
Harvard Bare Hill Pond
Bare Hill Pond, located in the Nashua basin, is a 321-acre municipally-managed pond where citizens can enjoy swimming, sailing, canoeing, ice skating, and cross country skiing. The Pond suffered from elevated nutrient levels and associated negative impacts including uncontrolled growth of invasive species such as variable milfoil, water chestnut, and fanwort.
How did the town overcome the excessive growth of these invasives in order to preserve the pond? They came up with an idea to develop a floating mounted pump to enable a deeper drawdown of the pond and thus more complete and efficient removal of the weeds. As a result of this project, the community views the Bare Hill Pond differently now, both enjoying more local flora and fauna and being more aware of best management practices that will keep this important resource in healthy condition.
For more information, view the Harvard Bare Hill Pond Project Q & A Handout, the Bare Hill Pond Watershed Management Commission website, and a project report by Bare Hill Pond Watershed Management Committee.