CMMCP Ditch Maintenance Program: updated 20-Jan-16
PLEASE NOTE: OUR POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE UNDER REVIEW, CHANGES MAY NOT BE REFLECTED IN THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBPAGE
FAQ sheet sent with all initial correspondence to property owners (.pdf 564k)
Restoration Flow chart – click here to see the process used to determine the feasibility of restoration projects in Central Mass. (.pdf 131k)
Restoration project photos:
¨ Hopedale ditch restoration – 1999
¨ Shrewsbury pond reclamation – 2004
¨ Northbridge ditch restoration – 2004
¨ Fitchburg pond reclamation – 2004
¨ Natick Streambank stabilization – 2007
Additional project photos will be uploaded soon – please check back or e-mail us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
INTENT AND PURPOSE
Wetlands restoration is an integral part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan. Restoration of degraded wetland areas consists of selectively clearing brush and removing debris from drainage systems to restore historical flow patterns. This can be accomplished with hand tools such as rakes, clippers and chain saws or may require more extensive restoration using a specially designed, low ground pressure (3 psi or less) excavator or other mechanized equipment.
Restoration of wetland areas reduces or often eliminates the need for periodic applications of pesticides to control the larval mosquito. Data collection during larval applications and other field observations help to determine the scope of a restoration project. The Project becomes aware of potential restoration projects through resident or town official requests, CMMCP field technician observations and data collections, or follow up on past restoration projects. The Wetlands Project Coordinator will investigate the site to see if the area will benefit from restoration, and if so, will determine the scope of the project.
It is our goal to reduce the amount of stagnant water in the restoration area, reducing the area to soil saturation, with less than 5,000 sq. ft. of impact to bordering vegetated wetland (BVW). . Maintaining the area at soil saturation will encourage the present vegetation to remain, but will eliminate mosquito breeding.
Wetlands restoration work focuses on those areas that have historic flow patterns and were maintained by local farmers or municipal personnel in the past. Limited wetland restoration work may be done by hand only in natural areas where debris blockage creates a significant health problem.
Restoration work is not typically conducted in true or established wetlands, defined as wetland habitat forming through natural means (natural streams, rivers, ponds, swamps), or existing for several years and providing flood control, water quality improvements or valuable habitat.
Any flooding or creation of wetlands by beavers will only be considered on a limited case-by-case basis and will require a significant level of support and cooperation from the town.
Mechanized equipment used by CMMCP in wetlands use a special hydraulic fluid (Chevron Clarity® Hydraulic Oil AW ISO 46) that is zinc-free and formulated to meet or exceed the performance requirements of conventional anti-wear fluids, while providing an additional level of environmental safety. This hydraulic fluid is inherently biodegradable and passes the EPA's acute aquatic toxicity (LC-50) test, and has substantially better oxidation stability than other conventional hydraulic fluids.
HAND CLEANING A DITCH:
SITE PLAN EXAMPLE: (Littleton, Job #309 – King St.)
SITE SELECTION – Sites will be investigated upon receipt of request. The source of each site selected will be recorded with the site plan.
SITE HISTORY - A history of the ditch and any past maintenance work should be gathered from one or more of the sources listed. Any history of change in use of the area should be noted (i.e. from agricultural to residential).
BREEDING HISTORY OR POTENTIAL - A history of mosquito breeding or significant potential of mosquito breeding which may impact a human population must be evident from one or more of the sources listed.
SITE PLAN - A survey to establish preexisting site conditions and plan of proposed ditch maintenance activities.
PROPERTY OWNERS PERMISSION - Secure written permission from property owners or persons legally in control of property prior to starting work on site. Standard permission form will provide purpose and brief description of project and any mutually agreed upon conditions.
NOTIFICATION - Notify property owners, abutters (where applicable), appropriate authorities and/or agencies and post site thirty days in advance of starting work and supply with the following:
AGENCIES TO NOTIFY (if using mechanized equipment):
SITE WORK - All on site work will conform to the following criteria:
CMMCP will work with the US Army Corps of Engineers where appropriate in order to establish the proper set of guidelines for ditch maintenance work. In addition to the above guidelines, we have the following input from the Army Corps of Engineers:
If CMMCP needs a determination on a particular site, we will notify the Corps, send them an 8 ˝" X 11" site plan, and they will provide a verification of maintenance upon visitation and approval.
Information on mosquito control in
¨ Mosquito Ditching Guidance Letter (.pdf 213kb) – this letter, dated July 14, 2004, is from Christine Godfrey, Chief, Regulatory Division to Lealdon Langley, Wetlands Protection Program, Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection.
¨ Initial Public Notice (.pdf 146kb) – the reissuance Public Notice of the Department of the Army Massachusetts Programmatic General Permit (PGP), dated January 24, 2005
¨ Programmatic General Permit (.pdf 2.65mb) – this document
expedites review of minimal impact work in coastal and inland waters and wetlands
POST MONITORING – Post-Monitoring of restoration sites is an integral part of our water management program. The photographic records aid in the development of future ditch restoration and maintenance procedures, and provide a means to track the recovery time of a particular site. All sites are databased, and information includes dates of site visits, all information pertaining to hand cleaning work, and mosquito breeding data. Such information enables CMMCP to track the efficacy of our restoration projects and allows for improvement of prevention methods for mosquito breeding sites.
All completed ditch maintenance projects will be inspected immediately upon completion and randomly monitored for a period at least two (2) years to ensure that desired results are attained and no significant adverse impact occurs as a direct result of ditch maintenance activities. Any problems that may occur will be immediately rectified.
After an excavation is complete, CMMCP field crews routinely hand clean the ditch in order to prevent any blockages from causing flooding or breeding problems. This also allows the ditch to remain functional for longer periods of time without having to re-excavate. CMMCP will continually improve upon its restoration practices and guidelines in order to provide an efficient service with low-level environmental impacts.
INVASIVE SPECIES CONTROL
CMMCP recognizes the threat of invasive species and the deterioration they cause to wetlands. We strive to minimize the impacts we have in the spread of these species types. All mechanized equipment is sanitized after completion of a project and prior to the arrival of this equipment to the site of another restoration area. Sanitization will include but is not limited to:
If work occurs in an area with small patches of invasive species, the excavator will make every attempt not to go through the patches to prevent spreading seeds and plant material to the rest of the site. Also, manageable patches may be hand pulled before excavation to ensure that they do not spread and to benefit the health of the wetland. If necessary, we may also employ techniques such as mulching the embankment where the spoil has been spread and seeding with native grass species.
Invasive species control is not a program that is undertaken by CMMCP at this time; however we are willing to coordinate with local and state officials to curb the spread of these wetland species if it falls under the scope of the restoration guidelines contained herein.
INVASIVE SPECIES EXAMPLE #1 – PHRAGMITES, THE COMMON REED
Phragmites australis – click for more information
INVASIVE SPECIES EXAMPLE #2 – PURPLE LOOSTRIFE
Lythrum salicaria – click for more information
FINAL PROJECT SUMMARY
A full project summary will be drafted upon completion of all mechanized maintenance work, and at least six (6) months of post monitoring. The project summary will include all pertinent information on the completed project including reasons for maintenance, the specifications of the completed work, and any other special conditions that may have been incorporated as part of the project. In addition to the project summary, attachments will include:
· DEP and Conservation Commission Notification Letters
· Project Site Plan and Topographic Maps
· Project Master and Permission Slips from Property Owners
· Assessor’s Map of Project
· Before and After Photographs of Project
· Dig Safe Ticket
· Any Correspondence Related to the Project
· Survey Information (including stream profiles, soil and water analysis, site history, breeding history, etc.)
· Back-up Materials
In addition, all jobs completed after January 1, 2005 will have a project completion form that will outline technical field staff who worked on the project, total footages of work completed, and a brief explanation of the project.
on each project completed by CMMCP can be found in the Water Management
central file, located at the main office at
WORK NOT INCLUDED IN SCOPE OF MAINTENANCE WORK
CMMCP will not be responsible for construction of mitigation measures (BMP’s) to treat nonpoint source run-off. CMMCP supports the use of BMP’s for water quality, and will be willing to assist in determination of need for stormwater BMP’s, but will not be solely responsible for construction or implementation.
CMMCP can refuse to do restoration work if the presence of the beaver dam renders maintenance in the area infeasible or imprudent. CMMCP will work with local and state departments to determine adverse impacts to property or public health concerns caused by beavers. CMMCP may remove beaver dams on a limited case by case basis. However, the town will be responsible for obtaining BOH and Conservation Commission permits, removing the excavated material from site, and arranging any trapping or beaver control structures for ongoing control. Other features of the site will also be taken into consideration before CMMCP agrees to remove a beaver dam.
CMMCP will not be responsible for identification of water quality issues. CMMCP will notify the DEP and local conservation agencies of all water management work to be performed. It will be the responsibility of the local commissions and DEP to notify CMMCP of any issues with hazardous materials or otherwise sensitive properties that should not be altered. In addition, CMMCP will notify the National Heritage and endangered species program to ensure protection of endangered species habitat. CMMCP will be happy to accompany any representative of an external agency to a maintenance site; however it will be the responsibility of the external agency to notify CMMCP of any outstanding issues that may affect maintenance work prior to commencement of work. CMMCP will not be liable for any work performed in a sensitive area if an external organization was properly informed of the work, with 30 days notice prior to initiation, and the external organization failed to provide relevant information in regards to the existing site condition.
CMMCP will not perform any “special interest work”, where it appears that an owner or agency is using the CMMCP to perform ditch work beyond the scope of CMMCP’s guidelines. Issues that CMMCP will not be responsible for alleviating include flooding issues or undersized culverts. CMMCP will not perform work where site features are not conducive to the long-term success of the project.
Work will not be performed in areas where construction is proposed or proceeding, where litigation is pending, or where there appears to be conflicting interests between property owners or between property owners and authorities. CMMCP will also postpone a restoration project if a property is for sale to allow the new owners the opportunity to decide if they will grant permission for this project.
CMMCP will not engage in any work that is not able to be conducted within its legal guidelines. CMMCP is subject to US Army Corps regulation and certain state laws. CMMCP is exempt from the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act, but still attempts to work with and respect the wishes of Conservation Commissions.
The ditch restoration work performed by CMMCP is exempt from the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act, as outlined in the following regulations (click on the links for the full text):
Although the ditch restoration work performed by CMMCP is exempt from the Mass. Wetland Protection Act and Conservation Commission review, CMMCP understands and supports the environmental, ecological, and socioeconomic benefits of the state’s wetlands. The CMMCP notifies DEP and the local conservation commission at least 30 days prior to commencement of every project to allow the agencies the opportunity to survey the sites and provide comment. The CMMCP is committed to working with DEP and the local conservation commissions, and is willing to postpone, alter, or even cancel ditch restoration work if the agencies have justification for doing so.
A Best Management Practices Manual (BMP) is in development and may alter, change or modify the scope of these guidelines.