Posted on March 8, 2023
The Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission has approved city parks officials’ plans to dredge the lower pond at Hubbard Park.
That dredging will allow officials to restore the pond’s previous aquatic habitat, which was impacted by ongoing sediment erosion that over time has decreased the pond’s water depth and led to algae growth.
The waters of the man-made pond, which is located near Hubbard’s Park entrance on West Main Street, are fed by two watercourses, according to SLF International Corporation, the Cheshire-based firm contracted by the city to advise the provided services related to the dredging project. Those watercourses include Crow Hollow Brook, which flows from Mirror Lake, and another unnamed watercourse, which SLR stated originates from Merimere Reservoir.
According to officials, the pond should have a water depth of around four to five feet. Instead, that depth has decreased to less than three feet, due to sedimentation. In some areas, the pond’s water depth is less than one foot deep. The sedimentation has also blocked the line to the pond’s gravity-fed water fountain.
Chris Bourdon, the city’s director of Parks and Recreation, said one of the goals for the project is to restore that fountain to working order, by clearing the line that feeds it and adding traps to collect sediment.
The plans described by SLR to improve the pond’s conditions, include draining it with temporary sump pumps, gravity-fed piping and cofferdams. Those plans then state the sedimentation will be removed from the pond and eventually moved to the park’s maintenance facility.
The last major work done at the pond was in 2006, when its existing retaining wall was built.
Bourdon described a pond that has been overtaken by invasive species which have negatively impacted both the pond’s wildlife ecosystem and its aesthetics. That ecosystem at one point included wildlife, like turtles and fish. But the pond’s now shallow depth has led to increased water temperatures, making the pond inhabitable for most wildlife.
Bourdon said the project, if it moves forward, should be completed in August, which he described as the driest time of the year. The project is expected to cost between $45,000 to $50,000, which would be funded using the Parks and Recreation Department’s capital improvement plan funds.