The West Harbor Pond Watershed Association kicked off its fundraising campaign “Save West Harbor Pond” on June 20. The campaign aims to replace the pond’s siphon which stopped working in 2008, nearly 130 years after its installation. The goal is $53,000 in private donations rather than government grants, which would take two years for the project to start.WHPWA has already secured over a third of its goal, said Siphon Committee Co-Chair Merritt Blakeslee.
“All the pieces are in place to complete the project, all the pieces except for the funding, and we are making excellent progress with the fundraising.”
With efforts beginning four years ago to replace the siphon and return good water quality to the pond, the WHPWA received a grant which supported hiring the Dirigo Engineering firm to prepare plans for a replacement. Dirigo came back with plans for a siphon that would run through the existing box culvert at the west end of the Highway 27 dam.
Plan drawings were submitted for review and the project got its first set of permits. Blakeslee said the remaining permits to replace the siphon should be coming in before the end of summer.
The project has included filing three grant applications, sifting through possible solutions, and consulting with a variety of town, county and state boards and departments to ensure the process is done correctly, said Blakeslee. The Boothbay Region Water District and Pat Farrin & Sons will be contributing labor and materials resulting in considerable savings, and work can begin as soon as early as November.
"I've been encouraged by the support that the association has received from the water district, the sewer district, the select board members, and so many others in our community," WHPWA President Leslie Volpe said. "And I'm especially proud of the pond association membership whose commitment to preserve and protect West Harbor Pond has been steadfast through all these years."
Replacing the siphon and restoring the pond’s freshwater will allow seasonal migration of alewives and glass eels to continue up through to Knickerbocker Lake. A vital part of the local economic history, West Harbor Pond will continue to draw tourists and vacationers to the area.
"It’s been personally gratifying to see the West Harbor Pond community and larger Boothbay Harbor community come together to make the Pond healthy again,” said WHPWA board member David Dalena of Lakeside Drive. “So many committed people have worked tirelessly to save the Pond, and along the way we’ve made new friendships and built a real sense of shared purpose. It will be great to celebrate our success together this fall."
For more on the West Harbor Pond Watershed Association and its campaign to Save West Harbor Pond, visit http://www.westharborpond.org/