Much has been said and written about the West Tisbury Mill Pond in the last decade, as a small group of residents has relentlessly sought money to dredge the pond. The matter will come up again on the town meeting warrant and I hope town voters will not be swayed by an emotional appeal. This project is a boondoggle seeking to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix a problem that does not exist and it should be rejected.
For West Tisbury voters, briefly, here is what you need to know about the Mill Pond. The pond is not presently threatened in any way. There is no reason to proceed with a dredging project at this time. Studies over the past 10 years show that the pond is not getting shallower. In fact, in some places it has deepened. Numerous scientists from state agencies and private conservation groups have said that dredging the pond will not improve its water quality or make it a more hospitable environment for native species. Our town engineer, who has studied the pond and maintained the dam for decades, agrees that dredging is not needed. The impact of dredging on the environment of the upstream Mill Brook watershed or the downstream Tisbury Great Pond has never been studied. What is needed is more study of the Mill Brook watershed to better understand the brook hydrology, temperature changes, habitats for native species and impacts from diversions on upstream and downstream environments.
Listen to the experts who have studied the pond. Make your decision based on sound science. Don’t throw away money on an unneeded project. Please vote no on Article 32, funding for preparation for dredging. Please vote yes on Article 16, funding for the watershed study.
Ebba R. Hierta