Westborough and state officials this week will walk the public through tree management planned for three conservation properties early this winter.
Most of the trees planned for removal from the Bowman West area of Sandra Pond by a tree harvesting company are "diseased and damaged," conservation commission Chairman Andy Koenigsberg says.
The other two sites are "a wedge between Upton Road and the Mass Pike" and “a little spit of land bordered by the reservoir on one side and Upton Road on the other,” and south of Minuteman Park, Koenigsberg says.
The Westborough Department of Public Works is spearheading the project and is expected to have someone available to answer questions at a public information session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Forbes Municipal Building Room 23, Koenigsberg says.
Assistant Town Planner/Conservation Officer Derek Saari and representatives of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation's Forestry Division will be there, too.
“I specifically requested that Derek bring in some outside experts so they’re not just taking Derek’s word for this that this is a good thing," Koenigsberg says.
Westborough bylaws give the DPW and the board of selectmen “management authority over all the conservation lands around the reservoir," he notes.
“The DPW and Derek Saari are of the opinion that the forest needs to be managed,” he says.
A tree harvesting company will pay Westborough for the right to remove trees identified by Saari and a forester, their trunks marked with red paint, Koenigsberg says. The work will go out to bid, then start around late December. The crew "usually will work from dawn to dusk" six or seven days per week for "less than a month, by my estimation," he says.
At Bowman West, "about a third of that area is just completely overgrown and taken over by invasive species, which are choking out the trees," Koenigsberg says.
"Unfortunately, what is going to have to happen there is a lot of vegetation is going to get stripped out. As many good trees as can be saved will be saved. And a lot of dead, dying trees are actually overhanging the homes that border that area.”
Koenigsber says he through the area recently.
“I was actually fairly impressed with how few trees are being taken out around the areas where people walk. So, people won’t see that much clearing around the main wetland," he says.
At the Upton Road "wedge,"they’re going to be clearing some entryways in so they can get to the drainage systems on the Mass Pike," Koenigsberg explains.
"This will allow them to get access in case of a chemical spill, and also to maintain the drainage systems that discharge onto town land.”
And at the other Upton Road site, “if you drive along there, you can see that obviously, the area is a mess: dead, dying trees. Broken trees," Koenigsberg says.
The planned tree removal seeks to “manage the forest so there’s a variety of species and healthy ones, and you have an unevenly aged forest. You have old trees that are dying, young trees that are growing and you have middle aged trees," Koenigsberg says.
“The town might not have to touch this land for decades after this is done," he says.