Beaver Lake Dam RemovalBy Penny Williams, reprinted from the Nutfield News
It isn’t functional and it isn’t pretty and it will soon be gone. Derry’s Environmental Coordinator Craig Durrett said plans are to remove the Pond Road/Beaver Lake dam this fall when the lake is drawn down following the Columbus Day weekend.
People attending the Beaver Lake Improvement Association (BLIA) Annual Meeting heard the news from Durrett as well as some excellent tips on how to ensure the quality of the lake’s water. Durrett also said there would be an information session within the next month where residents could come and get information on the proposed dam removal and ask questions about it.
The plan is to remove the inoperable, non functional dam that is on the lake side of Pond Road. The dam historically was put in place when the Chase Mill used water power to operate the mill. The lake and the meadow today are controlled by the meadow dam that was the Chase Mill’s primary dam. They added the lake dam to be able to create greater storage to have when needed but the dam no longer is functional.
But just because it isn’t functional doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be maintained by the town and repaired, according to State Dam Regulations. Durrett said these regulations change often and the dam is both a liability and a cost for the town to maintain so since it is not doing anything the decision was made to remove it.
“If we were to repair it we would have to remove all the trees along the causeway in both directions because the most recent regulations include the causeway as part of the dam and the regulations are more stringent,” Durrett said. “Removing the dam will reduce the expense of long term maintenance and repair as well as liability. It will also help restore better vegetation along the causeway.”
Durrett said the town has been working with the NH Department of Environmental Services, the Historical Department and Derry’s Heritage Commission to make sure there was no historical significance that would be lost by the removal. He said after all the years of maintenance and repair there is little if anything of the original dam remaining and since it serves no purpose the best decision is to remove it.
Paula Frank, Beaver Lake Improvement Association President said, “The BLIA has been involved from the beginning and has been copied on reports regarding the dam removal. The Dam has not been active for years and is not serving any purpose. The town controls Beaver Lake's fall draw-down using the Beaver Meadow Dam. The reason for the Dam removal is due to changes in Dam regulations. Repairs would now require removal of plants and trees within so many feet of either side of the Dam. This will require costly maintenance by the town. From an environmental standpoint the BLIA approves of the dam removal as we see these new regulations in conflict with the Shoreland Water Quality Act and we would rather keep the trees and shoreline plants along the shore. Another environmental advantage to removing the Dam will be better passage for wildlife, particularly fish between Beaver Lake and Beaver Meadow.”
At the BLIA Annual Meeting the updates on lake issues other than the dam revealed that while some lake residents have enjoyed the seven day a week 1 to 7 p.m. freedom to water ski or tube, there have been issues resulting from the rule change. There have been issues and complaints about boaters speeding before 1 o'clock and not following the counter clockwise rules. In addition, there have been increased parking problems at the ramp and there has been greatly increased Personal Water Craft traffic, including the illegal two-seaters. Dealing with these issues will likely be reviewed at future BLIA meetings. Marine Patrols were fewer this summer than in past years but they were randomly on the lake both before, during and after the 1 to 7 p.m. time slot and were observed on the lake different days of the week including the weekends, but again less often than before.
Durrett said he offered some tips at the annual BLIA meeting to maintain the quality of the water at Beaver Lake and the quality of life for residents around the lake. He said he spoke about using few or no fertilizers and if fertilizers were used to make sure they were non- phosphorus fertilizer. He also warned against allowing fall yard clean-up waste to enter into the water. Like the phosphorus based fertilizers this just adds nutrients to the water and ultimately can result in algae blooms.
“Yard clean-up waste can be taken to the Transfer Station and disposed of there for free,” he said. “We also have a link on our Web page for those interested in doing home composting.”
Durrett said he hoped people would take advantage of the fall Hazardous Waste Disposal Day to get rid of old gas, insecticides and pesticides and other hazardous materials. The event will be held on Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the ball fields on Sargent Road in Londonderry (across from the High School and behind the Central Fire Station). This is open to Derry and Londonderry residents. This is another quality of life issue, having a safe and legal way to get rid of hazardous materials.