Letter: Two reasons to remove the Warner’s Pond dam 

September 21, 2023

I would like to elaborate on two reasons to remove the dam on Warner’s Pond. These reasons relate to Goals 9 and 4, 5 that Anne O’Connor listed in her excellent article in the September 8 issue of The Bridge. 

Goal 9-Cost: The town estimated the cost to dredge Warner’s Pond at $3.1 million, but the actual bids by contractors came in at $11.4 million because of the high cost to dispose of the material dredged. Whatever the actual cost of dredging is, that dredging would have to done again in a few years. In contrast, the cost to remove the dam is a one-time cost and there may even be state money to reduce that cost. After dam removal, the now freely flowing natural stream would carry any contaminants downstream, and eventually to the Atlantic, at no cost to the town.  

Goals 4, 5-Recreation. People visually enjoy both still and flowing bodies of water, but they seem to actively enjoy freely flowing streams much more than still water. On various bike trips on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail I haven’t seen anyone in or on the water of either Warner’s Pond or the Ice House Pond in Acton. The Ice House Pond was created by a dam and appears to be also eutrophied. 

Boating on a flowing stream is a potential visit to new places and an adventure. On a summer Saturday or Sunday there are typically three or four rowboats or canoes actively moving on the Concord River visible from the bridge on Lowell Road over the river.   

Henry David Thoreau regularly visited and often took his students, including Louisa May Alcott, on educational boat trips up the Assabet River. Thoreau wrote a poem titled “The Assabet” to a love interest; its first stanza references rowing upon the river and reads:  

Up this pleasant stream let’s row 
For the livelong summer’s day, 
Sprinkling foam where’er we go 
In wreaths as white as driven snow— 
Ply the oars, away! Away!” 

 Paul Jameson 

College Road