By Diane Hannon
Friends of Warner’s Pond
Recent interest in Concord in keeping Warner’s Pond, and not dismantling the dam that forms it, has brought up many questions regarding the pond. Currently the town is discussing removal of the dam, draining the pond permanently. The following background information may help give context to the question of whether the dam should come down or not.
In the early 18th century, a sawmill was established and powered by a dam on Nashoba Brook. In 1817, David Loring established the Lead Pipe Company where the Warner’s Pond dam exists today. By 1857, this company was replaced by Ed Warner’s wooden pail factory. As far back as those times, Warner’s Pond was also being used for recreation and enjoyment. It had a picnic area, playground, swimming beach and boat rides.
Over the last four decades, Warner’s Pond has been filling with invasive plants. This growth has been exacerbated by the accumulation of sediment on the bottom, which allows the sunlight to reach the bottom and encourages invasive plants to grow.
The way to address this issue is to dredge that section of the pond where sediment has been deposited, and this can be done without draining the pond permanently. On several occasions this year, organized groups have gone out on the pond in boats to hand-pull many of the invasive water chestnut plants growing there, continuing the past practice of what once were town-led water chestnut pulls.
While there have always been townsfolk who use the pond for recreation, many others may need to be informed of its valuable presence in West Concord. To this end, the Friends of Warner’s Pond is contributing a series of columns to The Concord Bridge to present information regarding this resource in our town.
First, some basic information:
Where is Warner’s Pond? The pond is located in West Concord, just south of the Route 2 rotary. The pond is bordered by Gerow Park and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail on the north, Laws Brook Road on the south, Commonwealth Avenue on the east, and Wright Road on the west. Entry points and public parking can be found at Gerow Park, the Commonwealth Avenue boat launch, and the Pond Street boat launch. There is a pocket park at the dam on Commonwealth Avenue with on-street parking.
How big is the pond?
Warner’s Pond stretches across approximately 54 acres, including its three islands. The dam is on the southeast corner of the pond, near the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Laws Brook Road.
Should all dams come down?
The state supports dam removal if safety is a concern, or when the owner is ready to tear it down. Warner’s Pond dam was rebuilt in 2008, upon the recommendation of the state for safety reasons, and is now a safe dam. Whether the owner (the town of Concord) has sufficient reason to tear it down is currently being debated. There is no law in Massachusetts that mandates dam removal.
Friends of Warner’s Pond is a group dedicated to preserving and protecting Warner’s Pond