Ware River News | January 12, 2017 | Page 3 | Colleen Montague, Staff writer
HARDWICK – Selectmen approved their support for the Hardwick Pond Preservation Association and its work to get funds for eradicating and controlling weeds growing the body of water.
Selectmen also asked Interim Town Administrator Theresa Cofske to work with association members on a letter of support.
The board took that action after hearing from members of the association including member William Zinni, Treasurer Dennis Jones and Secretary Steve Larson, whose families have lived around the pond since the 1960s and 1920s, respectively.
They told the board that the main purpose of the association to get rid of the pond’s weed problems control them going forward. He said the association was trying to work with state agencies and state Sen. Anne Gobi’s office to get support and acknowledgment that the project was important. They said they also hoped to work with some of the state agencies like the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Recreation and access available grant funding.
“What we’re hoping for is we’re looking for at least some recognition or some statement of support or endorsement,” Zinni said.
Zinni, Jones and Larson said that Hardwick Pond, located in the southwest corner of Hardwick between Greenwich Road, Hardwick Pond Road and Turkey Street, was the only actual lake in town, and it was one of the important recreational sites in town going back to the mill days. Zinni said that in the town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan from April 2013, Hardwick Pond and the Muddy Brook wetlands were listed as one of the five priority sites town-wide for conservation and recreation. The problem for the roughly 68-acre pond, Zinni said, was the presence of invasive aquatic weeds.
“The weeds have pretty much colonized every corner of the lake and escalated to become a real serious problem,” Zinni said. Jones and Larson said that while in past years, people could take a rowboat anywhere in the pond and swim, or travel up or down it without impediment, every year the pond’s recreation area gets more choked off with weeds.
Larson said that the association wanted to be self-sustaining, and would be looking to access grants and raise private donations to come up with a plan to eradicate the weeds and keep them from coming back. Zinni said that the association has been told that the initial treatment would be the biggest task, and then it would require monitoring by the association and residents along the pond.