The Hardwick Pond Preservation Association, Inc. (HPPA) was incorporated as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization in 2016 and consists of a significant majority of shoreline property owners and additional interested members. The HPPA was organized to restore, preserve and protect the ecological health of Hardwick Pond. Currently, the Association’s efforts are directed toward the effective remediation and control of invasive aquatic weeds in the pond. The Hardwick Pond Preservation Association is a member of the Massachusetts Congress of Lake and Pond Associations, an organization that works to preserve and protect the Commonwealth’s waterways.

Hardwick, Massachusetts is located in the geographic center of the Commonwealth. A significant portion of Hardwick (4,278 acres) is owned by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for the purpose of watershed protection for Quabbin Reservoir. The Reservoir covers 24,705 acres and is Boston’s major water supply area. The Reservoir contains 412 billion gallons of water across the towns of Hardwick, Ware, Belchertown, Pelham, Shutesbury, New Salem, and Petersham. The state has preserved this large expanse of land in Hardwick and surrounding communities to limit activities that could pose a threat to the quality of metropolitan Boston’s water supply.

At 68 acres, Hardwick Pond is the only lake in Hardwick, formed by a natural constriction of Muddy Brook. The Muddy Brook valley runs north-south along the east side of the Quabbin Reservation. The brook drains western Hardwick and flows south into the Ware River in Ware. About 50% of the Pond shoreline is developed, and the average depth is 10 feet with a maximum of 20 feet.

Below is the HPPA’s primary mission as set forth in its bylaws and articles of organization filed with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

The HPPA is organized and operates exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. The objectives to be carried out by the HPPA are as follows:

  • To restore, preserve and protect the ecological health of Hardwick Pond for the benefit of the community by organizing, coordinating and supporting programs and activities directed toward the effective remediation and control of invasive aquatic weeds and related ongoing water quality flow, monitoring and maintenance.
  • Interface with local, state and federal government bodies to facilitate financial support and encourage continual process improvement in pond management and preservation.
  • Provide a communication network for sharing information regarding the programs and activities of the association and other subjects affecting the ecological health of Hardwick Pond.
  • Serve as an educational resource making pertinent information available to residents and users of Hardwick Pond.
  • To raise funds in support of the above objectives.

Control of the weed infestation at Hardwick Pond is critical for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Proximity to Quabbin Reservoir – The significant density of the invasive weeds at Hardwick Pond is now a threat to the Quabbin Reservoir, which is only 2.5 miles away. These invasive weeds can be transported into the Quabbin from Hardwick Pond via migratory geese and ducks or through eagles, herons, and ospreys that travel by air regularly between both bodies of water. This presents an imminent threat of transport of plant parts and seeds to Quabbin, which easily take root and begin new infestations.
  • Public Boat Ramp – Hardwick Pond is an important recreational resource, with a public ramp at its southwest end overseen by the Town. The ramp represents a state and federal funding investment in public recreation and access. Dense mats of invasive weeds are now impairing boating, fishing and swimming, and threatening that investment.
  • Water Quality – Reduced lake water quality is a concern, along with the potential decline of shorefront property values and related tax revenues. When dense mats of these plants decay, oxygen in the water is depleted, resulting in fish kills and harm to aquatic organisms.
  • The Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSP) – The Plan, prepared by the Hardwick Master Plan Committee (2013), identified Hardwick Pond and related Muddy Brook wetlands as one of five “highest ranked priority landscapes most valued by residents” in Hardwick. This designation was based on the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Heritage Landscape Inventory Program, which identified numerous special places in Hardwick that have high scenic and conservation value.

The HPPA has received letters of endorsement from DCR officials at Quabbin, the 450-member Hardwick Rod & Gun Club, and the support of the Hardwick Board of Selectmen.