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Tree work on south dike begins.

A contractor has begun work to remove trees near the Wachusett Reservoir, according to a Massachusetts Water Resources Authority spokesman.

The contractor, Aldore Tetreault and Sons, Inc. of Mendon, began mobilizing on site this week.

When the Wachusett Reservoir was constructed at the turn of the last century, the earthen dams - or dikes - were intended to remain free of trees and shrubs in order to ensure their integrity. However, since the 1930s, trees have become established on the north and south dikes of the reservoir.

Periodic dam safety inspections have concluded that trees growing on the earthen dams are a regulatory deficiency under the most recent State Office of Dam Safety regulations. The blowdown, or death of trees, on the dam could create conditions where water from the reservoir could penetrate root voids and ultimately lead to dam failure.

Tree growth and underbrush also prohibit proper dam safety inspections so that any problems with the earthen dike may not be noticed at an early stage.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority is about to begin a project to clear trees, stumps and underbrush at the south dike to address this important issue.

The work will include cutting and removal of approximately 1,600 trees on the south dike ranging in size from saplings up to 32-inches diameter, with the majority of trees in the 10-inch to 20-inch range. Most of the trees are white pines and are located on the upstream, crest and downstream slope of the dike. In some areas, stands of these trees are diseased.

Trees susceptible to Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation will be cut and chipped on-site in accordance with federal and state requirements. Evergreens will be cut and chipped and, depending on size, some will be removed in whole logs. After tree cutting and stumping the earthen dike will be graded and stabilized with grass cover. Once the grass is well established, the dike will be maintained by seasonal cutting.

MWRA anticipates the work will be completed by June 30, 2012.

Tree growth on the north dike of the Wachusett Reservoir will be addressed in a future contract.

Updates will be posted on as the work progresses.


CUTLINE: The area where the tree work is planned along the South Dike in Clinton and Boylston.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 30, 2012
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