The Drainage and Habitat Improvements Project aimed to achieve three goals: improving water quality, mitigating flooding and erosion, and providing healthy and diverse plant communities.
Project Goal: Improve Water Quality
A major goal of any restoration project at Fresh Pond Reservation is to improve water quality. Prior to the completion of the project, the hydrology at the southern watershed of Little Fresh Pond was such that the area has become severely eroded, impacting the health of Little Fresh Pond and the Fresh Pond drinking water reservoir.
Drainage issues included stormwater that flowed down the sandy slope below the golf course clubhouse and stormwater spills from manholes and pipe joints within the large storm drain that runs beneath the Fresh Pond Golf Course. During rain events, rainfall would gather in puddles and streams at the bottom of the clubhouse slope and across sections of the Golf Course, that threatened the health of Fresh Pond Reservoir. To protect the drinking water, a water quality swaled was constructed along the Perimeter Road on the side opposite the Reservoir and an earthen berm was constructed along the edge of the 1st Fairway and wooded area near Huron Avenue. This swale collects rainwater and moves it towards the golf course and Stream C, away from Fresh Pond, and the berm contains potential spills from the existing storm drain within the wooded area, keeping it from flooding the Golf Course and reaching Stream C.
Project Goal: Mitigate Flooding and Erosion
Both Fresh Pond Reservation and the Fresh Pond Golf Course suffered from ponding of surface water and flooding in this area. By containing the spill over from the storm drain behind a berm in the wooded area near Huron Ave, increasing wetland buffers, improving localized golf course drainage, and enhancing the woodlands adjacent to Stream C, the natural ability of the environment to absorb rainwater was amplified, alleviating much of the flooding.
The water quality swale at the southern end of the golf course collects rainwater and moves it towards Stream C while the berm adjacent to the 1st Fairway and the Huron Avenue wooded area keeps stormwater runoff from flooding across and ponding on the Golf course. Additional improvements to the grading along Stream C and the two small ponds south of Little Fresh Pond provides improved drainage pathways between this area and Little Fresh Pond, further reducing flooding within the Fresh Pond Golf Course. These improvements helped alleviate ponding and flooding on the Perimeter Road and the golf course from the surface water coming down the slope from the golf course clubhouse or spilling from the storm drain manholes.
Project Goal: Provide Healthy and Diverse Plant Communities
Invasive species are a great concern at Fresh Pond Reservation and throughout Massachusetts. These non-native species, brought from all over the world, move into an area and outcompete native species. Native species allow for natural ecosystem functioning, which gives us cleaner air and water, stable hillsides and banks, and more diverse habitat for native animal species. Non-native species break down natural environmental functions and can be less resilient to adverse conditions and changes in weather. Prior to the Drainage and Habitat Improvements Project along Stream-C, two major species of concern had taken over much of the understory: buckthorn and bittersweet. The project helped remove many of these invasive species from the area, and continued monitoring and removal efforts help keep Fresh Pond diverse and ecologically stable.