Morses Pond has a problem with the proliferation of aquatic weeds. Water chestnut has been a problem in the past, but FOMP hand harvesting over the last several years has almost eradicated the species. We will never get them all, but we have them sufficiently under control that yearly harvesting now requires only a few dedicated individuals working a few days each summer. Milfoil and other leafy weeds do not appear to be under control and it may be that their numbers are increasing every year.
The Town has conducted numerous studies over the years but there are no easy answers to this problem. In past years, the Town budgeted money to run the weed harvester, for which we were grateful. However, the weed harvester broke down and has been out of operation for the past few years. Currently, the town is assessing how to best manage Morses Pond.
More dramatic solutions are expensive and may be ineffective. If you would like to educate yourself on pond weed management, http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu and http://www.nalms.org are excellent places to start.
To prevent the flooding of Route 9 in the
stretch north of Morses Pond during severe rain storms, MA Highway
will increase the culvert sizes into and out of Morses Pond. This
may affect the Pond in the following ways:
-Reduce extreme high water levels, thereby reducing home flooding and bank erosion.
-Change the aesthetics of the inflow and outflow culverts.
-Change the ability to reduce water levels for weed control.
FOMP is in favor of this project because of the reduction in extreme levels. However we are concerned about the aesthetics of the new inflow and outflow structures and we are trying to make sure the Town of Wellesley is concerned as well. In addition we have tried to influence the design of the outflow structure to allow for the pond to be drawn down to a level that would expose weed roots to freezing in the winter. This is not a guaranteed way to kill weeds, and it is not clear that the Town would ever allow this, but we are trying to get this feature into the design so that it is at least possible.
The water level in Morses Pond is controlled
by the Department of Public Works by placing or removing ``stop-logs''
in the spillway of the dam between Morses Pond and Paintshop Pond.
The boards are placed or removed in order to address the following
-Low water to prevent home flooding of approximately 11 pond abutters.
-Low water to promote flow through the pond during the road salt season.
-Low water to prevent bank erosion on the eastern shore.
-Medium water to facilitate chestnut harvesting in spring. Chestnut harvesting only can only be done in the summer.
-High water to keep the wells charged.
-High water for recreation.
There are 6 removable stop-logs of 5.5 inches
each. The DPW removes all of them in winter because (2) is very
important. During the late spring and early summer, boards are
added to bring the level up
for (5) and (6), with boards added depending on rainfall to keep the level at the outflow channel roughly constant at about 6 inches below the top. (1) and (3) require that the sixth board not be added, leaving some reserve capacity in the pond for storms. On request of the FOMP chestnut harvesters, item (4), the pond level is adjusted temporarily as needed. Variations that residents see in the pond level away from the ideal are due to fluctuations in the amount
of run-off in the watershed over short times that the DPW does not try to keep up with. Usually these are within an acceptable range.