Pond remediation plan draws mixed reaction

JOHNSBURG A plan to drain the pond at the Johnsburg Town Beach in an attempt to control wildlife nuisances at the popular swimming hole drew mixed reviews at a Town Board meeting earlier this month. During the summer of 2006, the pond was plagued with parasites that caused an allergic reaction called duck itch in some swimmers. The problem become so bad that town officials closed the pond before the end of the season. The parasites are a by-product of snails that eat geese feces. In 2006, a substantial goose population made the beach its home. Draining the pond could accomplish two things, said Recreation Board Member Bob Nessle. It could kill off the snails and with the water gone, the geese might find another spot to congregate. We just might fool them into thinking the pond wasnt there anymore, he said. A third benefit might be a reduction in the number of water snakes populating the pond, Nessle said. To drain the pond, the dam would need to be breached by removing planks near the bottom of the dam, Nessle said. Town consulting engineer Jim Hutchins said removing the planks would likely lower the level of the pond. If you take those planks out, youll lower the level, he said. Essentially, youll have the old North Creek running through there. But some in attendance werent sold on the plan. Town Board Member Arnold Stevens wondered if the pond would be able to return to a level suitable for swimming without the dam in place. Wont you lose the (swimming platform) if you do that? Stevens asked. By one estimate, the pond level might only gain a depth of 4 or 5 feet. Asked about the plan later in the week, Nessle said he didnt think people at the board meeting were able to get a clear picture of what the plan entails and how it can work. Its hard in a meeting like that to give the full picture, he said. Nessle said Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District officials helped design the plan. The Town Board took no action on the plan but agreed to revisit it at a later date.

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