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Council To Review Georgiaville Pond Draw-Down Jan. 22

Residents argue effort to combat invasive species is harming recreation, wildlife.

 

Residents living near Georgiaville Pond or visiting the Smith-Appleby House may want to schedule in attendance at the Town Council's Jan. 22 meeting, when the board will discuss the annual draining of the pond.

According to a report from the Valley Breeze, members of the Georgiaville Pond Association are protesting that body's extended four-foot drawdown of the pond, usually from autumn till Jan. 1, to last until March 1.  

The issue pits an attempt to kill invasive plants against complaints that it hampers skating and ice fishing, creates dangerous cracks in the ice, and is harming wildlife. One man brought a collection of dead snails to the last Town Council meeting, according to the Valley Breeze report, to illustrate the damage.  

According to the RI DEM's manual, "Identification and Management of Aquatic Invasive Species," the level of draw-down should be kept to a maximum rate of two inches per day to avoid killing mussels and snails.

Donald T. Burns, Chair of the Conservation Commission and one of the opponents to the extended draining, said the pond is often drained rapidly. He said in Massachusetts, there's a law that ponds and lakes have to be drained at a rate of two inches per day. Although the RI DEM says it should be gradual, he said, there's no law spelling it out.

On Dec. 29, Burns said, the pond was full due to recent rain. "Three days later, it was down three or four feet," he said.

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