Deerfield ConComm renews Eaglebrook pond management program

  • Whipple Pond on the campus of Eaglebrook School in Deerfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Whipple Pond on the campus of Eaglebrook School in Deerfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little

  • Whipple Pond on the campus of Eaglebrook School in Deerfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little—Dan Little

  • Whipple Pond on the campus of Eaglebrook School in Deerfield. Staff Photo/Dan Little—Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 3/8/2019 6:37:44 PM

DEERFIELD — The town’s conservation commission gave its blessing to Eaglebrook School after the private boarding institution filed a notice of intent to renew its management program for Whipple Pond on its campus.

Naomi Valentine, of the SWCA environmental consulting firm hired by Eaglebrook, addressed commission members to explain the management program and its importance to the 2.7-acre aesthetic pond. She said the plan includes frequent monitoring of water quality, algae and invasive plants, and as-needed management.

“So the purpose behind this and the reason we’re filing it as a limited project is because we’re hoping to maintain the good water quality that currently exists within the pond,” Valentine said last week. “In order to do that, we want to make sure that we’re going to be able to manage any problematic algae species that may pop up, as they have in the past. And this would be a mechanism for the school and SWCA to do that.

“The algae treatment would be chemical application of a copper-based algaecide and the nuisance aquatic vegetation would be a chemical application of Reward (Landscape and Aquatic Herbicide),” she continued, “and then the nuisance or invasive terrestrial vegetation that would be on the bank, we would use glyphosate to treat.”

According to the National Pesticide Information Center, glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the United States.

Conservation Commission member Tim Hilchey asked Valentine if any algae and invasive plants will be removed by hand. Valentine said that would not be effective.

Hilchey also asked if there is a finite timeframe for the management plan, and Valentine said there is not. The pond, which also features a fountain, receives storm water.

“There’s always the possibility of new introduction, and there’s always the possibility of algae to become prevalent within the water columns. So there’s no defined start or end. We’ve requested a five-year permit just so we have the capability to manage throughout a moderately long time period,” Valentine said. “It’s possible that there won’t need to be any management during that time period. It’s possible that there would be one algae treatment during that period, or annual, depending on the year and the conditions. It’s also possible ... that it would need to extend longer. Algae is not something that is very easily predicted, or aquatic systems in general. They’re so dynamic.”

Valentine said a copper-based algaecide will be used because “it works its way through the water column very quickly and it doesn’t persist. And that’s the same with the aquatic herbicide that we’ve chosen as well – it breaks down very quickly in water.”

Conservation Commission Chairman Louis Misiun Jr. said the commission would like “before-and-after photographs” as well as yearly updates on the management program.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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