STONEHAM – Planners learned last week that White Mountain National Forest officials will be doing some work on area brooks.

Derek DeSanctis, Stoneham’s code enforcement officer, told the Planning Board that WMNF plans to improve and increase fish habitat on Great Brook first and to include some work on Shirley, Willard and Beaver brooks and a couple unnamed brooks.

DeSanctis said WMNF officials are not asking for Stoneham’s approval for the work but want to make the town aware of the plans and to solicit comments from townspeople. DeSanctis urges people to contact him with their comments and questions.

Comments have to be received by May 9 and he said an open meeting with WMNF personnel is planned.

DeSanctis described the proposed plan as a five-year project with work to be done each year from mid-summer to early fall. He said there’s no major earth work planned that would require bringing big equipment, that the plan is to make minor movements of rocks and trees to create pools and spawning grounds and a deeper channel.

Great Brook used to be deeper and narrower, a good fishing brook, he said, and, over the years, has become wider and shallower with very few fish. There used to be a fish hatchery on Willard Brook and WMNF wants to remove rotting remains of bridges and other structures. He suggested that they may stock the brooks after the work is done.

In other business, the Planning Board quickly approved the renewal of a building permit for Bob Nunes to build an 8-by-12-foot addition to his horse barn. The request had been tabled at the last meeting to give Bob Macklin, alternate code enforcement officer, time to research the area and determine if the small, seasonal water channel on the Nunes’ property can be classified as a brook.

The board agreed with Macklin’s determination that it has water only seasonally and meets none of the other state criteria for a brook. In early spring, it takes run-off into Bartlett Brook that runs into Keewaydin Lake.

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