I guess it’s time I spoke my piece as discussions increase about the future of West Tisbury’s Mill Pond.

In all my years with wildlife on Martha’s Vineyard — more than 36 years of them as director of Felix Neck — I find it hard to believe that there is a coalition factor now that advocates that there be a mill stream for brook trout where the Mill Pond is. There are certainly times where removing a dam is biologically sound and the right thing to do, but it’s totally irrelevant at the Mill Pond site. We need that beautiful pond as it is.

We already have a healthy brook trout population on the Vineyard. Last December, I was on a private estate on the North Road with a stream in it that was filled with brook trout. There are beautiful brook trout in upper Chilmark Pond. There’s no sound reason to change the Mill Pond. The linear footage of it that the native brook trout would get if the pond were turned into a stream isn’t going to make a big difference. I simply can’t visualize West Tisbury without the Mill Pond. It gives such great pleasure to everyone who passes by.

Anytime I am up-Island, I am always in anticipation of the wildlife I am likely to see on the Mill Pond. In winter, the otters may be up on the ice. There are widgeons and mallards and black ducks there for everyone to see. When I went by the other day, there was a pen — a female swan — with cygnets. How can anyone advocate getting rid of that beautiful pond? West Tisbury without it would be like East Chop without Crystal Lake or Oak Bluffs without Farm Pond. These are beauty spots that belong to the whole Island.

Of course, to preserve the pond in perpetuity, sooner or later you’ll have to dredge, but not necessarily right away. Otherwise, naturally, eutrophication will take place eventually the way it has at Whiting’s Pond — and what a pity that is! How many Islanders have gone skating there when there was ice and they were young?

Naturally, in the eutrophication process, there’s a time when a pond will be very productive. As emergent vegetation grows, it provides cover for a large variety of living organisms. That process will go on for a number of years, but then the pond becomes drier and soon there’s no longer the biological diversity that there was when the wetland was a pond.

I totally respect different opinions on different subjects, but I see no positives in letting the Mill Pond go to eutrophication, or in turning it into a stream. It’s phenomenal for its wildlife just the way it is with ospreys circling overhead, rails, snipe, snapping turtles, painted turtles and lampreys. Are we also going to get rid of Priester’s Pond, Crocker Pond and Fisher Pond on the North Road? This series of ponds is host to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. They, like the Mill Pond, are manmade ponds.

The Mill Pond is the picture-perfect centerpiece of West Tisbury and a major scenic attraction for visitors to the Island from all over the world. As a naturalist, I really can never wait to go by that pond. What a loss it would be to turn that beautiful, wildlife-rich pond into a trout stream!

Augustus Ben David is a noted wildlife expert who lives in Edgartown.