Should the Warner's Pond Dam stay or go? Photo by Celeste Katz Marston

Opinion: Getting to the bottom of the Warner’s Pond situation

June 7, 2024

By Christine Denaro and Bill Kemeza 

Warner’s Pond Task Force Co-Chairs

As residents of Concord, we are fortunate to have beautiful Warner’s Pond located in the heart of West Concord. Bordering the northern portion of Warner’s Pond is Gerow Park, acquired in 2018 for land and water recreational purposes. Since the 1990s, efforts have been made to explore alternatives to improve the ecological health and recreational capacity of Warner’s Pond. 

Currently aquatic invasive plants, sediment build-up and other environmental factors are creating eutrophication in the pond and it needs to be managed. Based on two major studies from 2012 and 2018, the town has focused on dredging parts of the pond to address these issues. After receiving only one dredging bid, which was three times higher than allocated funds, the town consultants, looking for other options, recommended dam removal.

In response to these proposed management options, the Natural Resources Commission convened a Warner’s Pond Task Force. We are serving as co-chairs.

Our group has been asked to thoroughly evaluate potential solutions for improving and preserving the health of the pond system for future generations. This 16-member group (11 voting members and five ex-officio members) brings together representatives from community and environmental groups, municipal officials, abutters, and others. 

Our charge is to submit a report to the Natural Resources Commission recommending a course of action to improve the ecological health and recreational capacity of the pond system by December 2, 2024. You can read our complete charge, membership, meeting minutes, and additional information on the Task Force website.

Since February, the Task Force has been diligently reviewing scientific research and analysis performed on Warner’s Pond to understand the root causes of the water quality issues and evaluate the potential paths forward, including dredging accumulated sediment, removing the dam, and other options. 

Whatever option the town pursues is likely to represent a major undertaking with differing impacts on wildlife habitat, recreational activities, financial costs, and other possible long-term ramifications for our community. That is why it is so crucial that the Task Force carefully vets all aspects of each scenario through a comprehensive process.

We encourage all Concord residents with an interest in Warner’s Pond to follow the work of the Task Force over the coming months and provide us with your input. 

There are opportunities for public comment at each of our meetings (announced on the town website), and a link to provide written comments on our own Task Force website.  A public forum is scheduled for June 20 with another meeting to follow in the fall to solicit input and feedback on our draft recommendations.