BELCHERTOWN, MASS. >> A citizens' advisory board that makes recommendations to state officials has voted in favor of a contentious plan to establish a timber rattlesnake colony on an uninhabited Quabbin Reservoir island.

The Recorder reports that the 11-member Quabbin Watershed Advisory Committee on Monday voted 5-2 in favor of the plan, with several abstentions.

Representatives of several sporting, recreational and environmental organizations sit on the committee. Its job is to advise the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Division of Water Supply Protection.

The state wants to establish the venomous snake colony on Mount Zion island, which is off limits to humans.

Opponents of the plan fear the snakes, native to Massachusetts, will get off the island and injure people and pets.

State officials and plan supporters say those fears are unfounded.

Information from: The (Greenfield, Mass.) Recorder,