Snow, rain, hinder Milford’s pond dredging plan

MILFORD – The dredging of a small part of Osgood Pond has been postponed again, thanks to Mother Nature.

The project, which has been on and off for decades, seemed to be on track last year when selectmen approved the dredging of two acres on the east side, where the town hopes to build a fishing pier and a boat launch.

The work, considered phase one, was supposed to begin this winter, but then the rains came in December, and then several feet of snow added a blanket of insulation, so there was no drying out.

“It’s not feasible,” said Fred Elkind, the town’s environmental coordinator.

The good news is that the town is hoping to double the dredged area next year, doing phases one and two together.

“We are trying to shake the bushes to find addition money,” he said. “We should know relatively soon” if there are funds.

The town has about $50,000 left in a capital reserve fund for dredging the weed-choked pond.

Phase 3 would be further up the pond on the opposite shore and Phase 4 would be the balance of the total of 11.5 acres the town has a permit for, which would be somewhat less than half the pond.

The valve at the pond’s Osgood Road end has been open so that sediment and weeds could dry out to allow for easier digging, but in warm weather that made the pond look even more like a marsh.

Lorraine Kearn’s home abuts the pond, and she is not happy with the delay.

“I can plan once again to sit on my deck facing muck and smelling the vile stench of rotting vegetation this summer, and probably the next,” Kearn said in a letter to The Cabinet.

After the dredging, plans were to close the valve, which has been open for several years, and let water refill the pond to its normal depth in the spring.

In 1977 selectmen and the conservation commission decided that dredging Osgood Pond was a major priority, but no funding sources were found. Then in the mid-1990s plans to dredge about 13 acres were scuttled after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it had no money to help.

Around 2009 another plan to dredge up to 10 acres was dropped when the town learned it would need to pay about 35 percent of the $1 million cost.

At 26 acres, Osgood is the town’s largest body of water and was once used for recreation until quarrying upstream brought sediment that reduced the depth to two or three feet, making it susceptible to weed growth.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or
kcleveland@cabinet.com.