WINDHAM — Residents who want to preserve Moeckel Pond will use $9,300 from the Conservation Commission to estimate the cost of reconstructing the pond's dam.
It remains to be seen whether that funding will stave off the draining of the pond, expected later this summer or in early fall.
Meanwhile, resident Alan Carpenter said he hopes to hire an engineer to complete the estimate and obtain bids by Labor Day from contractors interested in the reconstruction.
Carpenter, a local conservationist who lives on Rock Pond, acknowledges the Sept. 1 date is optimistic, but was happy to see the Conservation Commission voted unanimously last week to fund the study.
"It far exceeded my expectations," he said.
Moeckel Pond resident Norm Young also applauded the commission's action. The pond is home to a wide range of wildlife, he said.
Young said he has seen river otters, osprey, moose and deer on or near the pond in the past, and regularly sees ducks, geese and other wildlife.
Commission member Dennis Senibaldi, who presented the motion to use the $9,300 in conservation money for the study, said the pond's preservation is in the conservation panel's best interest.
"We are a huge stakeholder on that pond," Senibaldi said.
The pond abuts 75 acres of conservation land at the Deer Leap conservation area. The view of the pond from the top of Deer Leap is considered by many to be among the finest in Southern New Hampshire.
The big challenge for those who want to preserve the pond will be raising money to reconstruct the dam.
Earlier estimates for that work range from $150,000 to about $500,000. It is unlikely the money will be raised in time to stave off the draining of the pond.
But with a newly constructed dam, the water in the pond would be replenished.
The state is ordering Moeckel Pond drained because of the poor condition of its dam, which is cracked and leaks at the bottom — posing a risk to a town road downstream.
Chuck Corliss, a dam safety engineer with the state Department of Environmental Services' dam bureau, said yesterday the reconstruction estimate will not delay an administrative order for the draining being sent to the dam's owner, Donald Bellamare.
Safety remains the first priority, Corliss said.
Still, the Department of Environmental Services will work with Bellamare if he applies to reconstruct the dam.
This summer, after Bellamare receives the administrative order to gradually drain the pond, he will be required to give the town 30-day notice of the move, Corliss said.
The town is required to hold a public information meeting on the draining.
The owner also must inform New Hampshire Fish and Game of the pond's draining, Corliss said.
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