Merrill Park pond needs upgrading to keep fishing derby going

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Published: 08/12/2022 13:17:21

Modified: 08/12/2022 13:14:07

Volunteers hope the City of Concord will repair a small pond in Merrill Park that was damaged by a flood in 2006, making it easier to continue a decades-old tradition of children fishing for stocked trout.

“For more than a decade, our members placed sandbags in the new outflow, temporarily raising the water level to the point where the pond could support fish, and using hand tools, have cleared part of the periphery of the pond, as well as the entrance area, of silt and vegetation allowing easier access to open water for children. The efforts of our members, although commendable, are not just not sustainable,” is how members of the Basil Woods Jr. chapter of Trout Unlimited put it in a letter to the city.

Parks and Recreation staff will prepare a report on what the city might be able to do, including costs, for future consideration by city council.

Merrill Park Pond, also called Duck Pond, is on the north side of Merrill Park in East Concord. It was deepened years ago by an earth dam holding back Mill Brook which created a one acre pond used for winter ice skating as well as the annual Youth Fishing Derby, which is overseen by the local chapter Trout Unlimited for people under 15. Last year’s derby drew around 150 people.

The dam broke during the 2006 Mother’s Day flood, when a foot of rain fell over several days and caused extensive damage across the state.

“Since then, the pond only fills during periods of heavy rain or in the spring when the snow melts and only holds water for a few days,” Parks and Recreation Director David Gill wrote. , in a memo to city council.

Water enters the pond through an inlet on the west side and drains out the east end. The entry “shows signs of failing,” Gill wrote.

If the council approves the idea, Gill said the city should hire a company “to help us look at and understand the full extent of what is needed, with members of the local Trout Unlimited to help with review the options.

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