After we recently avoided calamity while kayaking toward—but not over—the South Natick dam/spillway on the Charles River (well, OK, we knew it was there…), we posted about the dangers of there not being warning signs or buoys leading up to the dramatic drop (“It’s still a Hail Mary for boaters heading toward South Natick Dam”).
As it turns out, Natick is trying to address this safety situation, as noted during both the most Select Board and Conservation Commission meetings.
Claire Rundelli, environmental planner/conservation agent for Natick, said during her wrap-up at the Aug. 24 Conservation Commission meeting that the town last week had its kickoff meeting with engineering consultant GZA last week regarding the dam removal process, and estimates it will make a filing with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office in early 2024 and that will set the stage for further permitting. That segued into a question from a commissioner regarding spillway signage or buoys. Rundelli said GZA will make some recommendations on the “buoy-signage situation so that the town can get those implemented as soon as possible.”
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As it turns out, we published our post the day after the town met with GZA, and Rundelli said it helped impress upon GZA that this was a high priority issue.
Town Administrator Jamie Errickson also took up the subject during his update at the end of the Aug. 30 Select Board meeting. He said upon asking GZA about the topic, it was determined that a solution could be something simple or complex “depending on what the recommendations are and what the requirements would be either from GZA’s recommendations or from the state…” Sticking a sign into the ground, for example, could require going through the Conservation Commission. There could be short vs. long-term solutions depending on the direction of the overall dam removal project.