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December 21, 2011
GROTON—It has been years in the making, but property owners on Groton's scenic Spectacle Pond have a lot to celebrate, and a lot to be proud of, as 2011 comes to a close.

Water levels are returning to normal on the pond, home to many species of wildlife, including nesting loon, otter, heron, deer, moose, trout fishermen, the Circle Program summer camp, and a very tight-knit community of seasonal home owners.

Members of the Spectacle Pond Association and other pond lovers in the towns of Groton and Hebron, and much of the surrounding region, came together to tackle a particularly tough task when, beginning as early as 2005, it became evident that water controls on the pond were beginning to fail, threatening to drain the pond beyond recognition or usefulness for recreational purposes.

At the time, an aged dam, dike and spillway system was showing serious signs of deterioration. But danger turned into calamity when, in 2008, after the notorious "Mother's Day Floods," changing New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Dam Bureau requirements further intervened to exacerbate the situation.

Noting the danger of downstream flooding, the State Dam Bureau issued a Letter of Deficiency for the main dam on the pond, and threatened to breach the dam if necessary, unless expensive repairs were not undertaken to remedy the 100 year flood danger downstream. The breach would have lowered water levels at the pond by four to six feet, beaching canoes and kayaks, stranding seasonal camps on the shore and devastating the reputedly excellent trout fishing (but let's keep that a secret), not to mention discouraging the annual nesting cycle of resident loon on the quiet waters. (Motorized boat access is limited to those who have no other access to seasonal camps at the far end of the pond.)

Subsequently, the determined members of the Spectacle Pond Association, led by their tireless and devoted President, Dave Godbout, and dedicated Secretary, Cindy Williams, launched into action to purchase the flowage rights over the dam so that they could authorize the necessary work, and then to raise the approximately $220,000 needed to save the beloved "jewel" of the Newfound region.

Their efforts literally paid off big-time, with dozens of Spec Pond property owners, neighbors, recreational users, conservationists and others pitching in to answer the call.

They can now sit back and rest on their laurels, having achieved victory in 2011.

The Third and Final Phase of the Spectacle Pond Preservation Project, a new dike, was completed on Nov. 23, and final approval from State New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services officials was received in December. The new spillway was completed as Phase I of the project. The main dam on the pond was successfully repaired as Phase II, meeting all requirements of the DES Letter of Deficiency, in June of 2011, at which point the threat of a breach was removed.

Congratulations on a job well done!

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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