A spirit of collaboration prevailed Monday evening at a forum that begins a yearlong study of the Mill Brook watershed. The 3,700-acre watershed includes the historic, much-discussed Mill Pond near the center of town.
I invite everyone to come hear Steve Hurley, southeast district fisheries manager for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, talk about the results of the fish sampling survey undertaken on Mill Brook in September 2012.
The Mill Brook is one of the Vineyard’s great natural treasures, with its clear, unpolluted waters that run from the glacial boulder-strewn terminal moraine of the North Shore to the sandy outwash plain that rims the Tisbury Great Pond on the south shore.
Driving over the bridge between North Tisbury and West Tisbury village, I keep thinking of the olden days when all vehicles, whether gasoline or horse driven, simply forded Mill Brook. Those were the days! But we must travel fast and don’t have the time (and luxury?) of the old-fashioned pleasure of fording, to say nothing of the damage it would inflict on our low-slung modern cars.
West Tisbury private landowners bordering Mill Brook may be eligible for a state program that offers to pay 75 per cent of costs associated with cleaning the environment on their property as water flows through on its way into Mill Pond.
Opinions on the future of Mill Pond and the future of Mill Brook were more varied than the options at a Saturday afternoon forum held at the West Tisbury Library. The townspeople and others who packed the meeting room kept coming back to a central point: The pond and the brook that feeds it are among the town’s most valued resources and worthy of concern and some kind of action.
Without any action, experts say the pond will continue to choke as more and more sediment and organic materials continue to arrive and fill it.