Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

I thank the town of West Tisbury for the opportunity to hear about the different options related to the future of the Mill Pond. I was troubled by the insistence of the Mill Pond committee on dredging the pond, in particular the implication that natural sediments (referred to as black gold) be positioned as a commodity.

At the forum, I appreciated the review of dam removal options and what that might mean for the future. It would be sensible for our town leaders to see how this option has worked in other communities. Dredging is costly and kicks the problem down the road where it will have to be repeated again and again at even greater expense. Drastic as it seems to some, dam removal may be a viable option.

I was perplexed that the Mill Pond forum was described as “muddying the waters” in a letter to this paper on Jan. 31. Shouldn’t the citizens of our town be well informed of all options? Knowledge brings clarity. I thank Prudy Burt, the town and the Mill Pond committee for making this information available. I was impressed by the presentation of engineer and Mill Pond caretaker, Kent Healy. It is critical that we listen to Mr. Healy, who has been monitoring the pond for so many years. He makes a strong case that dredging is inadvisable.

As a West Tisbury citizen, I won’t support dredging. I have listened to the debate, observed the pond and formed my opinion. I would like to see the results of a full-fledged watershed study. To paraphrase ecologist Aldo Leopold, when we regard nature as a commodity belonging to us, we abuse the land. When we see it as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with respect. Let us consider all the options and make an informed choice that respects the land, the plants, the wildlife and the people of West Tisbury who enjoy and depend on it. We are all part of the same community.

Tim Boland, West Tisbury