Conservation Commission Report on the Dams of Cold Spring Brook Park


Lower Dam, Cold Spring Brook Park

Lower Dam, Cold Spring Brook Park

The place we know as Cold Spring Brook Park was deeded to the Weston Community Club (now the Weston Community Association Inc.) in 1950 as a memorial to Weston residents who served in World War I and World War II and dedicated to the memory of Lewis and Emma Wilder Parkhurst. The focal points of the park have been the two dams, the lower of which was breached in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.

In an effort to better understand the history and issues of the dams in the park, The Weston Conservation Commission has prepared a report using Town Meeting reports, Conservation Commission minutes and other available records.

The report includes the following Conservation Commission suggestions to the Weston Community Association regarding those structures:

1) As clearly stipulated in the deed to the property, exercise reasonable diligence in maintaining the premises, including the dam which still stands, and implement a program for doing so. This should include engaging the services of a qualified engineer to assess conditions, especially the large voids at the base of the upper dam, leakage through the face of it and around the wing wall on the left (road) side of the dam. The downstream lean of the structure should also be monitored and addressed.

2) Make a concerted effort to cultivate a good working relationship with all State agencies concerned with dams, rivers, streams and watersheds, including the Agency of Natural Resources and Fish and Wildlife.

3) Take a proactive approach in addressing issues regarding the structures in Cold Spring Brook Park. While property damage would be minimal should a collapse occur, the mess and cleanup after would be significant. It would be to the Community Association’s advantage to be seen as doing something about the condition of its structures, rather than as waiting or hoping for the remaining dam and walls to fall over. The conditions reported more than thirty years ago exist today and will not fix themselves.

4) Take appropriate steps to control and eliminate purple loosestrife, Japanese knotweed and any other invasive species found within the park, including the stream bed, and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure a healthy stream ecology.

5) Comply with all upcoming requirements of HB37 regarding registration and inspection of dams in Vermont, and comply with all recommendations that result.

6) Establish a funding mechanism for needed repairs and other work using the proven ability to raise funds and complete projects involving other holdings instead of requesting Town funds.

For more information and to download a copy of the report, CLICK HERE.




You Can’t Save What You Don’t Know You’ve Got and You Can’t Lose What You Never Had

   With help from residents, friends and visitors, the Weston Conservation Commission is assembling an online database of plant and animal life called The Field Guide to Weston, using the open-source platform of Everyone can contribute observations, photos, and even sound recordings (think peepers!) from in and around Weston.
   Spring is a great time for spotting wildlife and we invite you to add your own entries to The Field Guide to Weston. An information session will be held on Saturday, April 11, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Wilder Memorial Library in Weston for anyone interested in participating in this fun (and educational!) project. Use the Contact Us tab at the top of this page to send your questions or to request more information.

When did you see your first robin this year?

Emerald Ash Borer

Insects and disease are facts of life for the trees in our forests and over time the trees have developed resistance, or at least a tolerance, to many of them. But when a new, unfamiliar organism comes along, and those trees have no defenses, the results can be devastating. Chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, and the gypsy moth are three examples of invasive species that have seriously impacted trees in Vermont, and all three were introduced and/or transported by people. One current threat to trees in Vermont, also introduced and spread by people, is the emerald ash borer (EAB). While EAB has not officially been observed in Vermont, many consider it just a matter of time before it is found.

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

There are going to a lot of conversations about this little green beetle in the months and even years to come, as Weston confronts the possibility of forests without ash. Representatives from the Weston Selectboard, Conservation Commission, Road Crew, and our Tree Warden recently attended a regional workshop on EAB and strategies for dealing with infestations.

Emerald Ash Borer Trap

Emerald Ash Borer Trap

Purple traps have been hung for the last several years, with color and scents EAB finds attractive, but none have been found so far. Whether or not EAB has arrived in Weston, there are things everyone can do to prepare. One of the first is to learn more about EAB, and the Vermont Department of Forests has prepared a useful fact sheet to get started. Open a copy or download your own here:


With such high mortality, it is important to identify where our ash trees are and how many we have that will pose hazards to utilities, infrastructure and people as they decline. Using the same platform The Field Guide to Weston is built on, the Weston, VT Ash Tree Survey aims to show the distribution and densities of ash trees in Weston. Anyone can contribute to the survey by uploading pictures of ash trees, filling in some information and “pinning” the location on the map. See our Field Guide to Weston page for more on using this system. Stay tuned for more on ash trees and the emerald ash borer in our area and remember, EAB can travel 65 miles per hour! firewood2

Turkey Tally

The snow from those heavy, wet storms we had in December condensed into a thick layer of ice, making it hard for some creatures to find food. Additional accumulations haven’t made things easier, especially for animals like turkeys who have to scratch for a living until the spring buds begin to swell.

Where are all the turkeys?

Where are all the turkeys?

How rough a winter was it for the turkeys? Without a count of surviving birds there’s really no way to tell, and we would like you to help us conduct a tally of turkeys by recording what you see in The Field Guide to Weston.

Sign up or sign in, upload photos, mark your sighting on the map and record some notes. Let’s see how many turkeys made it through winter and where they are!

Flood Ready?

The best time to think of a flood is before it happens and the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has announced a series of ice jam/spring flood summits throughout the state in March. Town and city officials will receive updates on local flood outlooks and discuss available state resources in case of flooding or other disaster. This is the second year DEMHS has sponsored these summits.

It may be hard to imagine flooding with the rivers covered in ice and the woods full of snow, but the rivers are going to thaw and the snow is going to melt. How to deal with extra water as it moves from Point A (upstream) to Point B (downstream) is the subject of Flood Ready Vermont, a website with a wealth of information about preparing for and dealing with floods in our state, including many lessons learned in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. Irene was not Vermont’s first big flood event and certainly won’t be the last, but perhaps the next one can be less destructive and disruptive to lives and infrastructure. Continue reading

Landowner’s Guide to Wetlands

“It is the policy of the State of Vermont to identify and protect significant wetlands and the values and functions which they serve in such a manner that the goal of no net loss of such wetlands and their functions is achieved.” — Vermont Wetland Rules

Wetlands are defined as areas “that are inundated by surface or ground water with a frequency sufficient to support plants and animals that depend on saturated or seasonally saturated soil conditions for growth and reproduction. These areas are commonly known as ponds, bogs, fens, marshes, wet meadows, shrub swamps, and wooded swamps. Wetlands often occur in association with lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, creating transitional areas between dry land and open water. However, wetlands can also be isolated from any obvious connection to water when they occur where the topography collects surface water, or where ground water surfaces.”

In other words, where things that like it wet can live. Continue reading

Timber Harvest Guidelines for Vermont Landowners

Harvesting plays an important role in the management of actively growing forests, providing fire wood, building materials and other products, as well as generating income for landowners. The table below shows the economic impact, in dollars and jobs, of Vermont’s forest-based manufacturing and recreation.

forest products

From “The Economic Impact of Vermont’s Forest-Based Economy, 2013” by the Northeast State Foresters Association

In 2013, the Vermont Legislature and Governor directed the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation to “develop voluntary timber harvesting
guidelines that may be used by private landowners to help ensure long-term forest
health and sustainability.” Those guidelines have been developed and are now available. Anyone, whether cutting trees for the woodpile or as part of their forest management plan, will find this publication useful and informative. Continue reading