Northrops: New Fence Is Temporary

The fence at Sherwood Mill Pond is temporary, says Jeff Northrop Jr.

His family owns the strip of land where a fence was erected yesterday. It’s on the north side of the walking path between Old Mill and Compo Cove.

The temporary fence keeps people and pets off of the property while water quality monitoring tests are conducted.

The testing — which may take a year — will examine eutrophication, Northrop says. That occurs when a body of water becomes overly enriched with minerals and nutrients, which induces excessive algae growth. The process may result in oxygen depletion of the water, which harms fish and other wildlife.

“Protecting marine resources starts with sound agricultural and waste management practices,” Northrop notes.

Sherwood Mill Pond. (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

Sherwood Mill Pond was in bad shape in the 1970s. It took decades of work to get it where it is today.

The fence will prevent dogs, and humans like fishermen and crabbers, from accessing the pond, which could impact the testing.

If a permanent fence is needed — for liability purposes, and/or to keep hordes of youngsters from jumping off the bridge (as they did last loudly and constantly last summer, to the annoyance of neighbors) — Northrop says it will be more aesthetically pleasing than the chain link one that’s there now.


The new fence at Sherwood Mill Pond.

10 responses to “Northrops: New Fence Is Temporary

  1. Kathleen Fazio

    Who ordered the testing- Town or State? I had not heard anything about this testing

  2. Chip Stephens SHS 73

    Really ? Consider that there are a few dozen properties abutting the mill pond. There are three accesses to the pond, two viaducts under 95 and one goes thru Sherwood Isle park. And remember the town access that was Allen’s Clam House on Roseville. All used by rowers. All properties have human and animal interactions The tributaries have tens of houses and locations from a state park to Nyala farm to the greens farm firehouse. And I95 runs around and over the mill pond
    Now explain more how the little fence works
    Really ?

  3. Leslie Gilderman

    “The fence will prevent dogs, and humans like fishermen and crabbers, from accessing the pond, which could impact the testing”

    HAHAHA – Good one Jeff! You know that the fall crabbers walk up the spillways into the pond, never coming close to your new unsightly fencing. Literally hundreds of people fish from there over the warmer months and have for many, many decades. These folks will simply walk around your fence via the tide gate supports to gain access for casting.

    I’ve been away for a long time but I knew you when we were youngsters. No fence would have kept you from leaping into the Mill Pond or any other pond for that matter. I expect that your sons (at that age), and possibly grandkids, would easily climb such a silly short fence in a heartbeat in summer heat.

    The fence will be there for a a year? Unlikely. Its been public use since forever and that won’t change. Besides, kids don’t jump from the area you have fenced off. They jump from the wooden walkways where the water is deeper. Your fencing is quite useless and unattractive and everyone will know you did it. Self-harming PR for you. You are so much smarter than this Jeff! Right?

    How would you feel about a town wide boycott of your oysters or tours? Again, uselessly bad PR for your family businesses should be avoided.

    Get ready. I suspect that historical “public right of way” is coming your way. Or you can just take it down quietly before it becomes a big lousy mess.

  4. Patrick LeBedis

    So the main complaints about this temporary fence seem to be that: 1) It interferes with the ability to trespass on private land; 2) It interferes with the ability to illegally and dangerously jump off of the bridges and tide gates – see Town signage on Bridges prohibiting this; 3) The State-mandated testing is BS – based on the opinions of people that have no knowledge of aquaculture, or State mandates. Many comments seem to be from people that don’t even live in Westport. It might be noted that there is a public park, also with a fence, directly opposite the Property in question. But that wouldn’t fit the aggrieved Westporter narrative!

  5. Terence brannigan

    This is a bummer.

    I was born 3 houses from the bridge and know that area like the back of my hand.  My parents gifted some ot the land that is now Sherwood Island that was given to them by Flo snf Loretta, the 2 zigfield Follies sisters who lived in the mill house.  My sister and I also worked our way through school at Allens Clam House (another tragic example). It is unfortunate.  We over manage every ting.  

    I fished and crabbed there endlessly as a kid, and I’m proud to say that my 3 boys presently jump into the pond from the brides and wet their lines from the same locations that I did.  The fence sucks, and my money says it is there to stay, but if it is in the owner’s right to erect it, then so be it, that’s the good thing about where we live.  However if the reasons provided are factual, I think a plea to the town’s people, with a little help from our favorite Westport blogger and some sinage with an explaination of the testing could have accomplished the desired outcome.  

    BTW; so the results come back in a year…. then what?  Rarely are tests just done for the sake of testing, they are generally done to confirm or refute a suspicion…   Makes me think there’s probable a plan being tested.

    The real problem with the mill pond, in my opinion, is the small jetty that was constructed as a gift from the Stauffer Chemical Nyala Farm project.  An offer to build a jetty as a way to get rid of the rocks that were excavated during construction.  This small jetty essentially shrunk the aperture into Old Mill Beach.  The same volume of water passing through a smaller hole as the tide rises increases  velocity and silts in the sand.  There is not the same power when the tide ebbs to carry the newly deposited sand back out.  

  6. As a property owner for decades across the footbridges; and having worked with the Town Parks / CC Association to beautify the public walkway – and in talks with Northrop Sr; since “Sandy”, I was very disappointed at no collaboration – suddenly with this hideous fence. As Someone stated, a decent written intention plan to neighborhood or Town — with the duration of a temporary fence and simple signage would have helped. I heard personally today, it is a 3 month project. Too many dogs defecate there. Those of us on the Mill Pond Commission know we have a bacteria problem to solve for the cleanliness of our pond. There are 8 testing sites. Hopefully this is a short test; and a permanent solution will be forthcoming.

  7. Susan P Saracena

    As to the “youngsters from jumping off the bridge (as they did last loudly and constantly last summer, to the annoyance of neighbors)” …I guess the ‘neighbors’ don’t have children? I have never met anywhere, so many polite and well-behaved children, as I have in Westport. Our kids are thoughtful and a pleasure to speak with. One can always move to a ‘No Children Allowed’ community, if they can’t tolerate seeing children and hearing their laughter.

    • Westport kids are fantastic. And anyone who knows me knows I am the biggest supporter and fan of Westport kids around. But what happened last summer at the Mill Pond was really, really bad. There were hordes of middle school youngsters there, all day and into the evening. They were loud. They swore a lot. They taunted people who lived nearby. There was vandalism of cars in the parking lot. It was intolerable for people who lived nearby (and I do not, but I saw what went on, and heard about from many reasonable people who live there). These kids were not representative of most Westport teenagers. But they did make life miserable, all summer long, for many residents.

  8. I am surprised no one has mentioned the real issue and that is sand going in to the Mill Pond due to the state’s jetty at Sherwood Island. Eutrophication is more than just depleted oxygen levels in water. It is a process whereby a pond becomes a bog and eventually dry land. Growing up the mill ponds was deep enough for motor boats and we had access from the Sound through one of the gates at the Mill House. Many don’t also know you can go from Old Mill to Burying Hill by following the tidal waters under the Sherwood Island connector tunnel. Truly the Mill Pond is one of Westports true treasures.