Public hearing for Attitash water level change Sept 25

The Amesbury Lakes and Waterways Commission is seeking public comment on a proposal to lower the summer level of Lake Attitash about 2 inches, from 96.75 to 96.6 feet above sea level.

The public is invited to present opinions on the plan on Thursday, September 25, at 6:30 pm at the Amesbury Public Works Department Headquarters, 39 South Hunt Road, Amesbury. (Click here for map.) The hearing is open to the general public, including residents of Amesbury and Merrimac.

The board of directors of the Lake Attitash Association supports the change in level, but board members have stated that the proposed lower level is not necessarily ideal. The association board wants to study the matter further and may propose a further change in level sometime in the future.

The level of Lake Attitash is under control of the Amesbury Department of Public Works. Rob Desmarais, department director, said the small change in level is probably the maximum possible at this time because funding and personnel resources are not available for obtaining the regulatory permits for a greater change.

The Lake Attitash Association and a few lake residents requested a reduction in summer lake level to lessen shoreline and retaining wall erosion and to reduce the chances of minor flooding after unexpected heavy rainstorms. Before deciding whether to support the plan, Lakes and Waterways Commission members want to hear from the public. If the commission votes in favor of the plan, it will be submitted to the Amesbury Conservation Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for their approvals.

The proposed plan also calls for changes in target dates for reaching the required levels, allowing the DPW more flexibility in managing the interconnected waterways of Attitash, Meadow Brook, Tuxbury Pond and the Powwow River. These water bodies constitute the drinking water supply for Amesbury. The winter Attitash level of 95 feet above sea level will remain unchanged.

Anyone who cannot attend the September 25 meeting is invited to send comments by email to the chairman of the Lakes and Waterways Commission, Bruce Georgian, at bmgeorgian [at] by September 25. Letters can also be mailed to Bruce Georgian, Chairman, Amesbury Lakes and Waterways Commission, 62 Friend St., Amesbury, MA 01913.