CONCORD, Mass. – Smith College Facilities Management Office is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with their 10-year sediment management plan for the in-river Paradise Pond in Northampton, Mass.
Smith College has requested that the Corps authorize Section 404 discharges associated with their 10-year sediment management plan for the in-river Paradise Pond (Mill River). Sediment from upstream areas of the Mill River watershed normally accumulate in the pond. Smith College's goal for this sediment management plan is to maintain at least a 2-foot minimum normal pool depth throughout Paradise Pond in order to support existing recreational and academic uses.
As part of this plan, Smith College proposes to dewater the 9.4-acre Paradise Pond up to once a year and to redistribute bottom sediments to areas where they can be more easily transported (sluiced) downstream. The applicant has requested to access areas throughout the entire pond during bottom sediment redistribution operations. Bottom sediments will be physically moved by bulldozers or excavators into adjacent primary channels (thalwags) or non-mechanically sluiced to the plunge pool area downriver of the Paradise Pond dam. Equipment will access the pond from the existing boat ramp adjacent to the athletic fields.
Dewatering and refilling activities associated with the sediment redistribution operations are entirely dependent upon seasonal water levels within the Mill River. Smith College estimates that the total dewatering and refilling activities associated with sediment redistribution operations typically take 4-6+ weeks per event. The applicant is requesting authorization to complete sediment redistribution operations during the time periods between October and May of any year.
In addition, Smith College proposes to open the Paradise Pond Dam low-flow outlet during periods of high flow (over 200 cubic feet per second) to promote the downstream sluicing of accumulated bottom sediments. High flow events of this scope occur approximately 20-30 times a year. Utilizing this sediment management plan, Smith College estimates that they can sluice between 1,500 and 3,000 cubic yards of bottom sediment from Paradise Pond per year. The applicant proposes to continue sediment and biological (freshwater mussel, dragonfly, and macroinvertebrate) monitoring studies of Paradise Pond and downriver areas over the course of this 10-year authorization period.
The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the Smith College Facilities Management Office, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on this work proposed by the Smith College Facilities Management Office (file # NAE-2012-2550) should be forwarded no later than Sept. 7, 2018 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Paul Sneeringer), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Paul Sneeringer at 978-318-8491 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: email@example.com.