Water doesn’t flow uphill to Whitten Road

To the Editor:

Milford’s environmental coordinator Fred Elkind seems to think that water flows uphill.

In an article in the Cabinet on Sept. 18 titled “Beaver control sparks conflict,” Elkind was quoted: “The DPW saw the risks” … downstream and were concerned about the height of the water and its potential to harm property on Whitten Road.”

Whitten Road is upstream of Heron Pond not downstream. This was not a typo or misquote by Kathy Cleveland.

I called Elkind on Wednesday to ask why the town destroyed the dam when it clearly was not causing any problems. He told me the same thing he told Kathy, that the water level was threatening property downstream on Whitten Road. I was confused about this and asked him again and he repeated that he meant downstream.

The water level on the upstream side of Heron Pond Road leading to the school was unchanged by draining Heron Pond and so this breach was completely unnecessary and made no difference to homes on Whitten Road.

Elkind also claims that “…others want to protect trails and man-made objects.” There were no trails or man-made objects threatened by the water level in the pond in August or any other time of year. If there were these kind of problems, they would have been more serious in spring and early summer, not in August when the water level is naturally lower due to less rain, evaporation and water used by the surrounding trees. So why wait until August to correct a non-existent problem? It sounds more like an excuse than a good reason.

Another false claim made by Elkind was “the high water elevation created by the dam threatened the DPW’s gravel-removal staging area and access to Heron Pond School.” The water level in Heron Pond was at the same level this year as it was last year and right up until the dam was breached in August. Why wasn’t there a problem when the water was at its highest?

On Saturday, I measured the approximate distance between the highest water level mark in the pond to Heron Pond Road and I found the road to be 3½ feet higher than where the high water was. At the time of the breach the pond had receded another 1 foot or more lower than the road. The road leading into the old gravel pit has a slight decline and that area measured to be approximately 3 feet lower than Heron Pond Road. Therefore, at the highest water level, the pond was still 6 inches lower than the so-called staging area and was no threat to anything DPW might have been doing there.

Once again, water would have to flow uphill if it was threatening the gravel-removal staging area. Everyone knows water does not flow uphill, not even in Milford.

While it is true what Elkind says that “the beaver will repair that dam,” it is not true that “no real harm was done” because the beavers can’t make it rain. So the pond won’t be ”right back where it was” until next spring when the snow melts and the rain refills the pond.

The habitat now has been unnecessarily altered for many wildlife species at a time when they are preparing for the long winter ahead.

Mr. Elkind is paid to be the environmental coordinator, therefore he is supposed to have a good knowledge of the workings of beaver ponds and he must have known that the water in the pond was not a threat to anything in August. I believe he was asked to lower the pond by one of the Selectmen and he followed those orders without question and now he is just making excuses. He should concentrate on doing his job well for the environment rather than destroying nature needlessly.

Tom Gardner

Brox Environmental Citizens