Work to create a lake management plan for addressing nonpoint source pollution and invasive species in Chapman Pond is underway.
Chapman Pond in Westerly is on RIDEM’s 2022 Section 303(d) list of impaired water bodies due to overgrowth of invasive plants and mercury in fish tissue. The extent of invasive plants in the pond (which includes American lotus, water chestnut, and Eurasian watermilfoil, among others) makes boating and paddling very difficult during summer months and impairs the habitat for fish and wildlife and native plants.
The lake management plan, which is anticipated to be completed in spring 2024, will describe existing conditions, identify goals for managing nonpoint source pollution and invasive species, and develop an action plan to achieve those goals. The plan will also include the feasibility and cost of proposed actions.
GEI Consultants of Huntington Station, N.Y., were selected to evaluate the pond and create the plan. GEI ecologists began the existing conditions assessment site work this month. The team will be sampling physical, biological and chemical characteristics of the pond through the spring and summer 2023, including bathymetry, hydrology, water quality, sediments, and existing plant communities.
The project is being executed through a partnership between the Town of Westerly, RIDEM, and the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District (SRICD) and is supported by a Clean Water Act, Section 319 19-Water Nonpoint Source Grant awarded to the Town by RIDEM. Future funding for implementation of identified actions from the created management plan will likely be available through this grant program.
The first phase of the project was completed in the summer of 2021, with the installation of a solar-powered dry boat wash station adjacent to the DEM boat launch on the northwest side of the pond, across from the Westerly Animal Shelter on Larry Hirsch Lane. The boat wash station was installed to help prevent the spread of invasive species from Chapman Pond to nearby ponds.
Public engagement activities and additional news releases are expected to occur as development of the lake management plan proceeds. For questions related to this project, please contact Alyse Oziolor, Principal Planner for the Town of Westerly, at email@example.com .