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Extra-thick ice delays Quabbin boat fishing.

Byline: Bradford L. Miner

BELCHERTOWN -- Shore fishing at Quabbin will begin on schedule, Saturday, April 18, but there will be at least a week's delay in the launching of boats from the three fishing areas in Hardwick, New Salem and Pelham.

William E. Pula, regional director of the Quabbin and Ware River watersheds, told members of the Quabbin Watershed Advisory Committee Monday night that the reservoir needed to be ice-free for two weeks to allow time to install the boat docks, deploy barrels marking restricted areas, and open restrooms.

"The reservoir freeze-over date in February was the same as a year ago, but the ice is thicker this year,'' Mr. Pula said.

He cited the results of a March 12 ice survey that showed thickness ranged from 13.5 inches at the Shaft 12 Quabbin aqueduct intake to 23 inches at Fishing Area 3 in Hardwick.

Ice thickness was 18 inches at the boat cove and the administration building.

Mr. Pula said there will be no change in the parking, launching and boat rental rates.

He also shared the results of a March 10 snow survey that found the average snow depth was 21.8 inches, the equivalent of 6.5 inches of rain.

Mr. Pula said he was grateful for the moderate temperatures, which are allowing a gradual melt and runoff into the reservoir.

"If this were to melt all at once, it would raise the reservoir level 2.75 feet, just a tad below main spillway level at 530 feet elevation,'' he said.

The regional director said that in addition to the water being sent down the Swift River through the lower spillway controlled by flashboards, 300 million gallons per day was being diverted through the aqueduct to Wachusett Reservoir.

He said he was in frequent contact with Corps of Engineers personnel at Barre Falls Dam in Hubbardston, where snow depth is of equal concern, given the potential for Ware River flooding at Barre Plains.

Mr. Pula informed QWAC members that security cameras would be installed as part of the plan to bring electricity to the boat cove and the Shaft 12 intake building.

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Title Annotation:Local
Author:Miner, Bradford L.
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 18, 2015
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