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Dredging improves two ponds on Smith College campus

  • Dredging of Paradise pond Monday afternoon.<br/><br/>
  • Dredging of Paradise pond Monday afternoon.<br/><br/>
  • Dredging of the pond at the Smith College Gardens Monday afternoon.<br/><br/><br/>

The bottom of the pond.

Beginning about two weeks ago, the pond’s water has been drawn down eight feet in order to allow contractors to remove stumps, replace soil and reconstruct an earthen dike about 800 feet upstream to a more consistent slope and elevation.

Robert Newton, professor of geosciences at Smith, said the dike at the west side of the pond is in need of repair, and drawing down the water will allow contractors access to do so.

Meanwhile, Newton said his department is monitoring the water to ensure that sediment from the pond doesn’t flow out with the remaining waters and wind up in the Oxbow section of the Connecticut River.

The lower portion of the slope upstream will be reinforced with stone, according to the college, and a portion of the jogging path will be fenced off.

The removal of the water has left the bottom of the pond bare, leaving fall visitors like ducks to make use of the moat-like stream around the perimeter while awaiting the water’s return. That should be in about two months, according to the college.

According to a statement from the college, the work is being done by the T. Ford Co. of Georgetown.

At the same time, the Lyman Plant House pond is being dredged so its banks can be reshaped and invasive plant species can be removed.

About 200 cubic yards of material are expected to be removed and a gravity-fed underground water supply will be installed that will improve the pond’s water quality, the college said.

Work on the plant house pond is being done by Scapes Builders of Deerfield and is expected to be finished in early December.

New plants are scheduled to be added around the pond in the spring, according to the college.

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