Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sudbury River - River Rd. to Power Lines & Back


Today, while enjoying the first crisp air in a while, I trash patrolled the Sudbury River from River Road in Wayland to the power lines near the Allen Morgan Avian Study Area. Upon reaching the Pelham Island Road bridge I stopped to gather up some trash in the area and noticed an osprey flying directly overhead. Resuming my journey upriver two turkey vultures were observed patrolling the skies over the river and this belted kingfisher watched over things at a lower level...

Rounding a bend a large group of Canada geese were conducting some kind of meeting. A blue heron and a cormorant stood nearby, perhaps listening in...

The bend after that had these lesser yellowlegs wading together...

After passing Indian Point I came upon this piece of trash that had a stowaway attached to it...

It took more than a little persuading to get this guy to relinquish his grip.
Just upriver a bit a toy boat about 16" in length was found sunk in the shallows. No crew or cargo were seen in the immediate vicinity and salvage efforts went smoothly.
In the area near Heard Pond, a pair of green backed herons were intent on staying together. This photo caught one while alone...

Beneath the water's surface was also teeming with life today. Numerous fish of many sizes and varieties were seen and this little freshwater clam was nestled in amongst some small stones...

At the power lines I turned around and headed back downriver. The area between Route 20 and River Road had at least 6 of these great egrets...

Today's flowers were mostly those of the buttonbush that seemed to spread up from the water like a carpet and tiny white flowers attached to underwater plants such as fanwort or water hemlock (?). While few in number, these bright pink hibiscus (?) stole the show...

Back at River Road, the day's haul posed in the sun...

The count for the day was 38 pieces of trash. Of these 22 were recyclable (15 redeemable) and 16 were misc. rubbish such as plastic bags, the plastic boat, etc. My YTD total stands at 3553. Note: Clicking on photos will enlarge image.

6 comments:

Lis said...

Love today's pics - some really good ones. What are your thoughts on yesterday's news story about Framingham's plans to reopen their town wells to unplug from the MWRA? Do you buy their claims that it won't have a negative impact on the Sudbury river?http://www.boston.com/yourtown/natick/articles/2009/08/26/critics_say_rush_for_stimulus_money_puts_watershed_at_risk/

Suasco Al said...

Lis, I read the article you mentioned and found it interesting. I don't claim to be an expert in this matter but think the answer may be fairly simple.

Over the past decade there has been a growing awareness that when possible water should stay within the watershed where it originated. This keeps the underground aquifers from becoming depleted and maintains a sort of balance.

Framingham's plan, if I understand it correctly, would have 3.5 million gallons a day being withdrawn from the aquifer and nothing being put back in. The 3.5 million gallons would end up being transported to Boston Harbor via the MWRA.
Thus, while the plan may save ratepayers money, the aquifer ends up losing.

The town's plan would make more sense to me if it allowed for treating the generated wastewater and then discharging it back into the aquifer. Otherwise the net aquifer deficit could seek replenishment from local surface waters such as Lake Cochituate and the Sudbury River.

To my way of thinking, the best balance would be MRWA drinking water going hand and hand with MWRA wastewater disposal or, as an alternative, town supplied drinking water (from local aquifer) and town wastewater disposal (within same aquifer). Al

Lis said...

I think I understand - they want to use their wells to pull water from the aquifer, but not replace it with their own treated wastewater. So given that concept why doesn't the Quabbin get drained down? Doesn't the same apply to all the water that goes to the MWRA region and never goes back into that aquifer? Tough stuff for us accountants to understand :)

Suasco Al said...

Lis, Again, I am not any kind of an expert so I am only expressing my understanding of the issue.

Every watershed is replenished through the hydrologic cycle (aka rain) at an irregular rate. Therefore some kind of storage is needed to allow for times when there is little rainfall. The amount of water that can be removed from an underground aquifer without drawing it down too far is called its safe yield. Determining what is 'too far' can be subjective rather than purely scientific.

Greater Boston uses surface water collected and stored in the Quabbin and Wachsett reservoirs for its drinking water. They are manmade storage facilities created by damming the Swift River for Quabbin and the Nashua River for Wachusett and the levels in both reservoirs fluctuate based on rainfall received in the respective watersheds.

I guess it sort of like a checking account with overdraft protection. Al

Lis said...

I get it - forgot about the rain-easy to remember it today. By the way - on our vacation we visited Ashakon Reservoir out in the Catskills - same deal as the Quabbin - gov't flooded a bunch of towns to get water to NYC. Beautiful spot to run though - complete with bald eagle watching.

Anonymous said...

Bean counters are not supposed to look up! -- For any reason! -- Think? -- Huh?