To submit an item for inclusion in Coastal Pond News, please email it to MVC Water Resources Planner Sheri Caseau
Martha's Vineyard Water Alliance Meets Monthly at the MVC
This informal grouping of public and non-profit organizations meets monthly at the MVC to share information about and to coordinate and advocate for efforts to improve water quality. Meetings are usually held on the second Thursday of the month at 12:15 p.m., but it's a good idea to check the MVC calendar before heading over. Everyone is welcome. Feel free to bring your lunch.
Links to MV Water Alliance meetings and events:
March 2020- redefining the water alliance
Vineyard Gazette Series on "Coastal Ponds Under Pressure"
In the summer and fall of 2015, the Vineyard Gazette ran an excellent series of articles about the challenges facing the Vineyard's coastal ponds called Coastal Ponds Under Pressure. Here is a link to the whole series, and the following are links to some of the articles.
- Coastal Ponds Under Pressure - August 6, 2015
- For Islanders, Ties to Coastal Ponds Run Deep - August 13, 2015
- Hard Science Hard Truths about Pond Pollution - August 27, 2015
Article on Lagoon Pond
Martha's Vineyard Magazine has published an article entitled: Is it Too Late for the Lagoon? It says: "After decades of study and hand wringing, a few Island towns are finally ready to take the relentless decline of the Island’s magnificent coastal ponds seriously. Maybe."
Chilmark MEP Report is Released
The draft report has been completed and is under review by DEP.In January 2015, the Mass Estuaries Project final report for the Chilmark Pond was released and presented to a meeting of the Chilmark Board of Selectmen. We'll add a link to the report on the MEP website as soon as it is available. It found that the pond is impaired, but that a 15% reduction in the controllable load of nitrogen in the pond or a 32% reduction in nitrogen in wastewater would solve the problem. They thought the objective could be achieved by increasing the number and length of breaches to the pond each year. Also, since the density is low, the use of Innovative Alternative wastewater treatment systems could be enough to lower the nitrogen levels from wastewater to acceptable levels.
Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group Looks at Bioremediation
Over the past year, Rick Karney and Emma Green-Beech of the the Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group and Paul Carey of Wastewater Alternatives have been looking at various bioremediation techniques as ways to reduce nitrogen levels in coastal ponds. Bioremediation for Nitrogen Reduction summarizes the results. The techniques include oyster reefs, ribbed mussels, Biohaven Floating Islands, phragmites removal, and living shorelines. They conclude that sewage treatment will likely be required to meet nitrogen reduction requirements. Bioremediation can definitely be a tool in the tool box but much more research is needed to understand and quantify the nitrogen removal by natural systems. Advances in applied technologies such as aquaculture, and Floating Islands hold potential to significantly enhance natural bioremediation processes and the restoration of natural systems provides ecological benefits beyond nitrogen mitigation.
Lagoon Pond Joint Committee
The Towns of Tisbury and Oak Bluffs have formed a joint wastewater planning committee for the Lagoon Pond watershed. Together they will develop recommendations for each community’s response to the findings of the Massachusetts Estuaries Project for the Lagoon. A regional approach based on watersheds has been the recommendation of the Martha's Vineyard Commission and the DEP as the most cost-effective response to nutrient loading. The first step is to compare the towns’ respective regulations to find common ground for regulating wastewater in the watershed. They will draw from the impressive data bank on technologies and their costs per pound of nitrogen removed done by the Cape Cod Commission to chart a course for the most effective plan to comply with the targeted TMDL for the Lagoon at the least cost to taxpayers. For more information, contact Tisbury Selectman Melinda Loberg or Oak Bluffs Selectman Gail Barmakian.
MVC Water Quality Sampling Program
Water quality pond samples were collected by MVC staff every two weeks from Edgartown Great, Tisbury Great, Sengekontacket, Farm, Lagoon and Tashmoo ponds in conjunction with the Nantucket Sound pharmaceutical monitoring program.
Cape Cod Water Quality Plan
The Cape Cod Commission completed a draft version of a comprehensive Water Quality Plan for Cape Cod, called a 208 plan after the relevant section of the federal Water Quality Act. The deadline for comments on this draft has now passed and they are working on the final version. Cape Cod Commission Executive Director Paul Niedzwiecki gave a summary of the plan’s highlights at a meeting of the Martha's Vineyard Commission on November 18, 2014. Here are some useful links.
Coastal Stormwater Management Handbook
The final draft of the Coastal Stormwater Management Through Green Infrastructure for Municipalities Handbook was completed in October 2014. The handbook is designed to assist coastal municipalities in incorporating green infrastructure into their stormwater management planning as they review development proposals and retrofit existing municipal facilities and sites.
Last spring and summer, eelgrass surveys were conducted pre and post of dredge enrichment sites in Vineyard Haven Harbor. Eelgrass beds were monitored for the impact of enrichment to beaches that had suffered from erosion. An article about the importance of eelgrass beds recently appeared in the Boston Globe.
Sengekontacket Pond Oyster Project
The Edgartown and Oak Bluffs shellfish departments have collaborated on an oyster aquaculture project in Sengekontacket Pond.
Lagoon Pond Shellfish Projects
A mussel and marsh restoration pilot project has been installed in Mud Creek and Trapps Pond. Felix Neck and at the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group dock are other sites of future restoration projects. “Floating Islands” material is also being tested in the Lagoon. A pilot oyster reef project is underway in the West Arm; three beds of crushed clam shell were placed as base and spat on shell oyster seed was added to the bed.
Tisbury Great Pond Shellfish Projects
The Nature Conservancy with the Chilmark and West Tisbury shellfish departments put over 100 cubic yards of shell into Tisbury Great Pond at the end of June.
The Tashmoo Pond MEP Report is Coming
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is currently reviewing the final Massachusetts Estuaries Project (MEP) report of the Tashmoo Pond. It should be released to the public this winter.