Chestnut Hill Association requests that work on Hammond Pond proceed more slowly

The Hammond Pond and the adjacent conservation area is an extremely valuable and unique natural resource to the City of Newton and particularly to the Village of Chestnut Hill. Our neighborhood sits in the midst of housing, shopping malls and major commuter routes. As such, Hammond Pond is a lovely spot for walking trails, hiking, rock climbing and reflection. It is a peaceful oasis easily accessible to our neighborhood and is treasured by the residents of Chestnut Hill.

We were made aware of the Rudyak’s family’s generous contribution to the City of Newton and their desire to memorialize their son at such a lovely location several months ago through the local press. We sympathize with their loss and are confident that we can come together to find a mutually beneficial solution for all of our goals. The foremost concern of the Chestnut Hill Association (CHA) is that the process of implementing a floating walkway slow down until a plan for improving the health of the pond is created. More specifically, we hope that the following issues are studied in depth and potential solutions developed:

• Enhancing the ecological function of the pond and shoreline
• Remediating the water quality
• Identifying options for stormwater management
• Reducing sediment accumulation
• Reversing eutrophication
• Developing fore bays with berms
• Removing selectively water lilies
• Increasing water depth by dredging
• Enhancing ground water and surface water influxes

DCR image of 2011 “preferred design”

Moving ahead with a floating walkway and interior trails before having a plan to deal with the health of the pond is premature. We are disappointed that the focus and energy has been on the design and construction of the Floating Walkway instead of on the health of this special and unique natural resource in our City. We are concerned that installing a walkway may even limit the potential solutions to the pond’s health. The CHA believes that the Rudyak donation (and those monies contributed by the DCR Partnership Matching Fund and the $150,000 in reserve from WS Development, Inc.) be used in part or in full to restore and to ensure the health of the pond, its water quality, ecosystems and the maintenance of such. We understand the jurisdictional complications with Hammond Pond and implore the City of Newton, the MA Conservation Commission, the DCR and WS Development, Inc., to make this natural resource one of its top priorities.

Snow removal and storage, storm drainage, runoff from Rt. 9 and parking lots, and pedestrian debris all threaten the health of this unique kettle pond. We understand it is not a simple task to coordinate all of the entities that have a vested interest, abut or have title to land surrounding Hammond Pond. We know these issues are complicated and require more time to address in a comprehensive and coordinated plan and implemented in a cohesive fashion with all concerned parties.

It is our understanding that there was a feasibility study commissioned by the Rudyak Family by their consultant Kathy Bradford. In Ms. Bradford’s own words, “the ecosystem of Hammond Pond is in slow decline, and the water quality needs improvement,” Bradford said. “Any design here needs to have sustainability in mind and encourage repairs to the ecosystem.” Consequently, it seems premature to make any decisions as to a memorial structure, floating walkway and interior trails of any kind until this study is fully understood.

In summary, the CHA respectfully requests that the process slow down until a rigorous environmental review of and potential solutions to Hammond Pond’s water quality and ecosystems is complete to the satisfaction of all interested and vested parties. The Floating Walkway and interior trails proposed in two phases appears quite large in scope. The Chestnut Hill Association hopes that no final decision be made about the floating walkway until the design specifications are confirmed; its impact on the environment and water quality are understood; and a future maintenance plan is addressed.

Chestnut Hill Association

Fall 2011

DCR Considers “Access Enhancements” to Hammond Pond