Letters: What Do You Think?

Don’t Ban Logging at Quabbin

Representatives from Environment Massachusetts in Boston have been circulating a letter urging MWRA communities to sign a petition requesting a permanent ban on logging in the Quabbin Reservoir watershed. The letter states that forestry practices at Quabbin are a threat to the water supply. The Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee believes this claim originated with one particular operation on which there were violations of Division of Water Supply Protection (DWSP) standard practices. However, water quality was not compromised by this or any other DWSP logging operation. That claim by Environment Massachusetts is unfounded and overlooks the fact that not one of many thousands of water quality samples analyzed over five decades has indicated a problem attributable to forestry operations on Quabbin lands. Spreading alarm using false claims is not constructive to the discussion about how to manage the watershed forests.

As part of the Forest Heritage Plan announced by former Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles, in spring, 2010, DWSP reconvened the Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). The 16 scientists and foresters from universities, federal agencies and other organizations are reviewing the principles and practices of the Office of Watershed Management’s forestry program. The public can comment on the report when it is released.

The Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee (WSCAC), located at the Quabbin, is contracted as the water supply advisory committee to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA).

Lexi Dewey, Executive Director
Water Supply Citizens Advisory Committee


We residents of Shutesbury are writing in exception to a letter [March 8, 2012] from Ben Wright of Environment Massachusetts, which falsely impugns the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s management of the forested watershed surrounding Quabbin Reservoir and advocates for a permanent ban on practices such as thinning/harvesting of the forests there.

Shutesbury is a Quabbin watershed town; about 35 percent of its area is under DCR ownership and management. Our personal knowledge, observations, and experience of these woodlands show that DCR has taken the long view for a long time in caring for and conserving this unique public resource. Management practices including the thinning/harvesting of forests are not new in the Quabbin watershed. These forested lands we know and love to explore today have been shaped by these and other DCR management practices for over 50 years.

The primary purpose of DCR’s forest management program is to further the long-term goal of sustaining a clean and reliable public water supply in a wooded watershed. Thinning/harvesting promotes forest diversity with respect to tree species and age. A forest with many different types of trees and everything from saplings to old growth is most resistant to damage by fire, disease, insects and natural disasters such as hurricanes. The temporary openings in the forest created by thinning/harvesting provide habitat for a greater diversity of plant and animal species. The work is contracted out, mostly to family-run logging businesses in Quabbin watershed towns, fostering a local agriculture that produces an organically grown product. Because this renewable resource is valuable, the DCR forest management program, unlike most state programs, partially pays for itself.

Mr. Wright is wrong; his claims are not supported by fact. Continuous monitoring of Quabbin Reservoir’s water by DCR shows none of the “sedimentation” or “pollutants” Mr. Wright alleges. In fact, the quality of Quabbin Reservoir’s water consistently ranks among the best of all public water supplies in the country. There are more trees and a greater volume of wood growing in the Quabbin watershed today than 50 years ago. For decades, natural resource professionals from around the world have traveled to Quabbin Reservoir to see a first-class example of how to balance clean water and judicious forest management. Quabbin Reservoir’s forested watershed is in good hands. If in doubt, come take a walk with us and see for yourself.

Deacon Bonnar
Stephen Smulski
Penny Jaques
David Kittredge, Massachusetts Licensed Forester #127


Enditol “Ad” Dangerous

Today 89 people will kill themselves in the United States. Approximately one person commits suicide each week in each of the four counties of Western Mass. Mocking suicide as was done in the pseudo-advertisement for “Enditol” by Tom Pappalardo in the March 15th edition of the Valley Advocate was unwise, hazardous and negligent. On any day, this ad would be in horrible taste, but following a letter from Elizabeth Reinke, R.N. about her suffering with postpartum depression in the same edition, it was truly distressing.

We have been impressed with Maureen Turner’s excellent coverage on postpartum emotional complications for the last three years. Unfortunately, this dangerous mock ad may have had, or could have, an impact on vulnerable individuals suffering with suicidal thoughts.

For those in our region who are struggling, help is available. Here are resources for you if you are feeling suicidal or have a family member in crisis (please call 911 if you are in immediate crisis):

Clinical and Support Options, covering all of Franklin County and the North Quabbin area: 800-562-0112 or 413-774-5411.

Covering all of Hampshire County: 800-322-0424 or 413-586-5555.

Brien Center, covering all of Berkshire County: 800-252-0227.

Behavioral Health Network, covering all of Hampden County: 800-437-5922 or 413-733-6661

Beth Spong, Executive Director, MotherWoman
Dr. Barry Sarvet, Baystate Medical Center and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Peggy Morse, Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention
M. Christine MacBeth, The Brien Center
Leslie Tarr Laurie, President/CEO, and Robert Reardon, Director, Tapestry Health
Karin Jeffers, Executive Director, Clinical and Support Options
Sera Davidow, Director, Western Mass. Recovery Learning Community
Susan Karas, Director of Outpatient Service, and
Jim Frutkin, Vice President of Clinical Services, ServiceNet
Susan Fortin and Jon Philips, Pioneer Valley Coalition for Suicide Prevention
Clare Higgins, Executive Director, Community Action of the Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin Regions

Corrections: The photos of the anti-nuclear protest on p. 9 of last week’s edition should have been credited to ValleyPost.org. And in last week’s story “NoHo: Yo-Yo Hot Spot,” the “yo-yo evangelist” was Jack Finn of A2Z Science and Learning Store, not Jack Flynn of A to Z Science and Learning Store.

Author: Advocate Staff

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