Have you noticed that ALL the ponds on the Island are slowly being infiltrated by swamp willows and Phragmities?(sp). Over the past 35 years, since I got out of the Navy and returned too the Island, and traveled ALL the roads every day in the pursuit of making a living, I have watched as virtually every single pond has lost a lot of their open water! Just take a ride around the Island and you'll see what I mean.
SO what you may ask. And my answer is, as we have only a limited amount of fire hydrants, and they are all located in the downtown area, what are the people in the outlying places going to use for a firefighting supply when their house catches on fire? That 5000gal tank truck is going to run out pretty fast in a fast burning house. And how far will he have to go to find a pond that can be accessed by the truck to get a refill? Almost all of them are surrounded by a ring of bushes, poison ivy, briar's, and vines, that make it virtually impossible to get to, especially with a fire truck!
The ever-so-vigilant, and in their own minds, knowledgeable biologists, sitting behind their desks in Providence, have MANDATED that there must be a minimum 50 foot buffer around each and every pond on the Island. Why? Why to contain all that runoff from rain running downhill and into the pond carrying all that dastardly dirt and deiterus (sp) and contaminating the water! Jeez, all the time I lived here as a kid and for the past two or three hundred years before that when all the land was cleared and farmed right down to the waters edge, there was no contamination of the water! Oh yeah, I forgot, there were not so many people putting artificial fertilizer on their fields and lawns. Duh--- Just how many are doing that right now at a level that would contaminate a pond I wonder?
Rob Lewis and myself used to have a wonderful little pond that abutted both our properties, and was home to all sorts of wild life. There used to be two different kinds of frogs in it as well as turtles, musk rats, ducks, small fish, and innumerable birds around it. In the 70's we saw what was happening to it and made application to the infamous DEM to clear out all the swamp willows that were overtaking it and driving it into oblivion. Well those people in their infinite wisdom denied the application because they said we would be "hindering" the natural transformation of the area from free running stream and pond, to an open and viable grassland environment! Well it has been well and truly "hindered" as of now. It is nothing more than a sluggish pitiful stream of water, running through an impenetrable forest of phragmities, swamp willows and briar's that is home to nothing more than millions of mosquito's with no natural predators to restrict their "unhindered" growth! This, the treatment of a man who was more concerned with the environment, and who has done more to preserve it, than three quarters of those folks just protecting their unneeded jobs.
So where does this leave us? I think that it is time for the Town Council and the Fire Department to get together and demand that these bureaucrats step out of the way and let us open up access to these ponds and keep them clear of the invasive growth that is slowly killing all of them and depriving the Island home owners of a ready supply of fire fighting water! Just look around you and try and determine just where the BIFD would lay their hoses in order to fight a fire in your home! Good luck to most of you the way it stands now! So if you are a home owner and you are in a place that needs a pond opened up, or cleaned out, write a letter to the TC demanding that they do something to give a modicum of protection to YOUR two or three million dollar home!!TIFN
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