Mayor and Town Council




Bill Letteri, Public Works Director




Follow-up to Questions about Merritt Pasture Maintenance




November 20, 2006





The attached report was provided to the Council for their meeting on November 6, 2006. At that meeting several questions and observations were raised about the report and the Town’s maintenance work at Merritt Pasture.  This report provides staff responses to those questions and observations.




The following is a summary of the Council provided Merritt Pasture questions and observations along with staff responses:

  1. Near the top of the pasture property in an area that was bush hogged it appears that some vegetation was burned.


    Staff Response – The staff has not burned any vegetation in Merritt Pasture.  Users have occasionally had small illegal campfires but we believe in this situation that what appears as burned foliage is actually dried bush hog debris.  We think what was cut back were basal sprouts from a removed Bradford pear. Pear foliage sometimes blackens when it dries.


  2. Near the pasture entrance there is some discarded utility conduit that has not been removed for weeks.


    Staff Response – The utility conduit has been removed and other areas of the pasture policed for litter.  Unlike active recreation areas at other Town facilities that are policed regularly, litter is generally not a problem at Merritt Pasture so it is policed less frequently.


  3. Note that the pasture’s walk-in gate is locked whereas the vehicle gate is not (with a sign saying please close the gate behind you in English and Spanish).  The walk-in gate was added at the request of the Council so that it could always be open while the vehicular gate would remain locked (with a key) to all but authorized users.


    Staff Response – The locks have been relocated to their proper positions.  The vehicular gate will remain secured so only authorized users can enter it while the walk-in gate will remain open.  Public Works Department staff with keys to access the vehicular gate will inspect the gates to assure they are properly secured on a regular basis.


  4. Why is there no woody vegetation growing up adjacent to the OWASA easement in the RCD?  It appears that mowing is taking place all the way down to the easement and that it always has been mowed down that far.


    Staff Response – The Merritt Pasture Vegetation and Maintenance Plan calls for the RCD area along Morgan Creek to be allowed to naturally re-vegetate with woody plants.  Two years ago wooden stakes were erected to delineate this area.  During pasture maintenance work this fall some areas were inadvertently bush hogged where stakes had been removed or knocked over.  The area to remain undisturbed has now been re-staked using heavy-duty metal stakes that are spaced more closely together to assure that future maintenance work is consistent with the adopted Maintenance Plan.


  5. The pond is in poor shape.  What is the plan for it?


    Staff Response – The pond at Merritt Pasture is a relatively small, shallow farm pond that collects surface runoff from uphill sections of the pasture.  Although no fertilizers are now used in the pasture, there is sufficient nutrient loading in the pond to support significant algae growth, especially during drier periods of the year.  The adopted Merritt Pasture Vegetation and Maintenance Plan does not specifically address this issue. Dredging the pond to increase its depth is one option that has been considered but has not been recommended because it may be more environmentally disruptive than beneficial.  The Public Works Department will work with the Town’s Stormwater Department to determine if other approaches should be considered to improve the pond’s water quality.