Dave Cloutier, a hydraulic engineer with VHB Inc., updates Oxford officials Thursday night on water monitoring at Hogan and Whitney ponds. Town Clerk Elizabeth Olsen and Town Manager Butch Asselin listen. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD —  The Board of Selectmen tabled discussion Thursday night on filling the seat of former Vice Chairman Ed Knightly and naming a vice chairman, because one of the four remaining board members was absent. The issue will be taken up at the next meeting Dec. 5.

Knightly resigned Nov. 8 due to other commitments that have left him not enough time for board responsibilities, he said.

In other matters, the board heard presentations on waterway projects and concerns.

Jeff Stern of the Androscoggin River Watershed Council updated selectmen on erosion control projects at Hogan and Whitney ponds.

This fall, the town and the council began ditching and culvert work on Rabbit Valley Road. Stern said it’s about half done and $7,158 has been spent. The work is being paid with a grant and the town and the council each get half of it.

Dave Cloutier, a hydraulic engineer with VHB Inc. of South Portland, spoke about a water monitoring study he oversaw for Hogan and Whitney ponds between Sept. 19 and Oct. 21. Five monitors were set at specific points in the ponds and upstream and downstream of the Welchville Dam on the Little Androscoggin River. The dam regulates the water levels of both ponds.

Cloutier measured water levels affected by the groundwater, precipitation and dam drawdowns.

The study is to determine if the dam should be removed, replaced or if grade controls using other materials would best serve the ponds and the river.

Steve Heinz of the Maine Council of Trout Unlimited also talked about the dam study in relation to fish spawning.

Some residents along the ponds pointed out that with at least six dams downstream, removal of the structure would not mean a return of spawning fish.

Chris Glass, who lives on Hogan Pond, requested that as selectmen review the findings of the study they consider all options, and he suggested further study before final decisions are made.

In other business, Fire Chief Paul Hewey reported on call statistics over the past two years and said the town is approaching the need for night staff.

The department maintains two on-call personnel after 6 p.m.

Hewey also reviewed ages and conditions of rescue and fire vehicles, stressing that while the town is within safety compliance, the department’s fleet is aging and will need to be addressed. Some trucks are more than 25 years old, he said.


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