Letter: Removing Warner’s Pond dam is the right thing to do 

November 30, 2023

I attended the Natural Resources Commission’s public meeting about plans for Warner’s Pond and thought it was very informative and clearly presented. As a planner who has worked on climate change at the local level, I am looking at the plans from this perspective.   

There is a strong desire to restore Warner’s Pond to its historic condition. But it is important to consider how our shifting climate works against this wish. Temperatures have increased and will continue to do so, affecting activities like ice skating, but also will have profound ecological effects. Warmer water holds less dissolved oxygen, which will negatively affect water quality even if the pond is dredged. Rain will increase in intensity and the frequency of extreme rainfall is increasing. Storms like the 11 inches of rain over 3.5 hours that fell on Leominster this summer are unfortunately to be expected. So, flood risk around Warner’s Pond will increase.  

The NRC indicated they are planning to do more studies on flooding. It’s critical that they use forecasted precipitation rates for the future — 10, 20, 30 years out. This will provide a picture of how flooding will change around the pond. Waiting for additional information may be useful, but given the trends with climate change, I believe that the proposal to remove the dam and restore the ecosystem to a stream and vegetated wetlands would create a more resilient landscape that will protect the neighborhood and downstream areas better and enhance ecological and recreational values under the coming conditions.  

I know it’s hard to see the pond go away, but we need to look forward, not backward and make choices based on what will be and not how it used to be. 

John Bolduc 

Stow Street