By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – The Board of Selectmen approved a contract at its Dec. 13 meeting for Forward Enterprises, Inc. to clear trees at the Sandra Pond Reservoir.
Before the contract was approved, Derek Saari, the town's assistant conservation officer, told the selectmen that the clearing was needed to comply with a 10-year forest management program mandated by the state. Many of the trees were overgrown and impeding the growth of other younger trees, he said. The overgrowth also affects the water runoff into the reservoir.
The project would necessitate closing down three parts surrounding the reservoir, including part of the Bowman Conservation area, Saari acknowledged. But he added that by doing the work in the winter, not as many residents would be affected as would be in the summer months, when a greater number use the facilities.
One abutter, Edwin Thompson, 3 Bowman St., spoke to the board about concerns he had regarding the project.
“The canopy of trees is a jewel in Westborough,” he said. “Mother Nature has taken care of the reservoir by herself.”
He also said he had reservations about the amount and type of clearing Forward Enterprises does after reviewing work they had done for two other towns.
Saari noted that there were some diseased trees, which if not cut down, could easily infect other nearby trees. “We went out and assessed each stand,” he added. “Most people don's look up – many trees are dying. The regeneration can's grow because of the overgrowth.”
John Walden, the manager of the Department of Public Works, said he agreed with the plan.
“This is standard practice for watershed areas,” he said. “There should be a maintenance program there. I have no records of any maintenance ever being done there.”
Paul Davis, the president of Forward Enterprise, also spoke to the board on the matter.
“Derek has done a tremendous amount of work on this plan,” he said. “Cutting trees is a very charged area. It's not the “sightliest” thing to look at. Even though the state has tight controls people can talk about what has been done and misconstrue it into something else.”
The board approved the contract for $10,664.50.
Saari said signs will be posted at the area regarding the closings. Information will also be posted on the town's website, http://www.town.westborough.ma.us/Public_Documents/index.