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New culverts needed to restore Barbers Hollow Brook for trout.

Byline: Ellie Oleson

OXFORD -- One local man wants to restore Barbers Hollow Brook to its original condition, so that Eastern brook trout can return and thrive there, but town funding for such projects does not appear to be available.

Glenn E. Krevosky, owner of EBT Inc., said he has had success restoring other local sites to make them suitable for the cold water fish, but that misplaced, rotting culverts prevent proper flow in Barbers Hollow Brook. That leads to pooling, stagnation and warming of water above temperatures in which trout can survive.

He said one culvert is at the Providence and Worcester Railroad, and two more are at Route 12 west of Hall Road.

The two "incorrectly placed and undersized'' Hall Road culverts are "prone to clogging by natural and manmade debris.''

The town's Department of Public Works removed a clog one time, and Mr. Krevosky and EBT Inc. removed a clog twice in the last month alone, he said.

In the last century, the brook was used as a neighborhood dump, leading to manmade clogs up to 4 feet deep in the once pristine waterway.

Mr. Krevosky suggested removal of the dump material and replacement of the small culverts with 26-foot, bottomless culverts that would restore proper flow to the brook.

"EBT Inc. is requesting the town of Oxford's committed support for the restoration of water quality.''

He took his plea to selectmen in January, and has contacted Sean M. Divoll, DPW director, about the project.

He has also contacted the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Aquatic biologist Richard A. Hartley said the division "strongly encourages the replacement of existing undersized or failing culverts with open-bottomed, three-sided culverts at every opportunity.''

Mr. Divoll said he agreed that the culverts need to be replaced, but said it is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

"I agree. The Hall Road culvert needs to be replaced, but it is a matter of funding and priorities. The culvert is not currently programmed into my list of projects. There is little funding for replacement of culverts at this time. It competes with everything else.''

He estimated that $1 million per year would "maintain the decent pavement we have'' on local streets, but his annual roadway maintenance budget is about $500,000, mainly from state Chapter 90 funds.

At last count, he said he has a backlog of $13 million in projects that need to be done in town, including multiple culverts that need work or replacement.

He said this cold and snowy winter has not helped his DPW budget.

Donna L. Foglio, finance director, said the Department of Public Works budget for this year is $1.76 million for parks, cemetery, conservation and highway, including salaries, fleet maintenance, snow removal, etc.

Mr. Divoll repeatedly has been turned down when he has asked for additional funding for the DPW.
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Title Annotation:Weeklies
Author:Oleson, Ellie
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 14, 2014
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