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Pittsfield Con Comm Ratifies Two Emergency Work Permits
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
05:11PM / Sunday, June 12, 2022
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Conservation Commission ratified two emergency permits for infrastructure work subject to the Wetlands Protection Act on Thursday.

Erosion damage had to be repaired on the roadway shoulder of Dan Casey Memorial Drive and a blocked culvert needed to be addressed on East New Lenox Road. The two projects were completed by June 1.
   
Both required a WPA emergency certification form through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection with the Pittsfield Highway Department as the applicant.

On Dan Casey Memorial Drive, stone was placed in eroded portions of the causeway. The form states that the area was between an existing stone and concrete retaining wall and the road shoulder and was approximately 50 square feet of area and about 5.5 cubic yards of volume.

The retaining wall separates the road from Onota Lake and stone was not placed at a higher elevation than the existing road.

The repair began on May 13 and was completed on May 20.

Conservation Agent Robert Van Der Kar pointed out that no work was done in the lake and was contained to the causeway. The emergency certification form stated that no work is allowed beyond the width of the road shoulder and retaining walls.

This causeway is soon to receive a million-dollar reconstruction that will go out to bid this year. It includes replacing existing culverts with three 5-by-10-foot precast concrete culverts, two new retaining walls, roadway surfaces, and new guard rails.

On East New Lenox Road, a culvert blockage with roadside drainage swale was addressed. Sediment was removed within a non-jurisdictional swale and associated culvert on the east edge of the road underneath a driveway at 73 East New Lenox Road.

Van Der Kar said the permit was just to be safe, as he didn't think the work was in jurisdictional areas and added that it “looks good” now.

The repair began on May 24 and was completed on June 1.

In other news, the commission continued an application from the town of Lanesborough and Friends of Pontoosuc Lake for an aquatic plant management program that addresses non-indigenous vegetation control within the lake.

The commission wants a peer review of the situation before they approve herbicide treatments. It voted to hire Northeast Aquatic Research and authorize the expenditure of up to about $7,000 before the motion to continue.

A few residents called into the virtual meeting to speak against the program.

"I do not support this filing because it does not meet the criteria for a limited ecological restoration project and at this time, it is not a betterment for the lake," resident Daniel Miraglia said.

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