Following the early closure of the scalloping season in Aquinnah, town officials and shellfish biologists are trying to understand the unexpected decline in the number of adult scallops this year. The season closed Nov. 15 in response to a lack of adult scallops; a black algae was also observed growing on many of the scallop shells.
A meeting called to discuss long-range management for the Menemsha Pond system took a surprise turn when a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers appeared to take an early measure of public opinion on a new plan to dredge the Menemsha channel.
Following a late-night discussion that grew cranky at times,
the Martha's Vineyard Commission voted narrowly last week to
designate a district of critical planning concern for the
shorelines of two shellfish-rich ponds in Chilmark.
The vote was 9-6 to approve the Menemsha and Nashaquitsa
Jennie Greene, the appointed member of the commission from
Chilmark, fought bitterly to block the DCPC.
"I think this is a slam-dunk that a couple of people put
It wasn’t exactly a summit conference, but selectmen from Chilmark and Aquinnah held a joint session on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of dredging Menemsha Pond. The two boards last met in Aquinnah roughly a year ago to discuss cell phone towers.
This time they met in Chilmark and the topic at hand was mutual concerns about the health of the pond that spans both towns.
The shores of the beach at Herring Creek, which flows into Menemsha Pond, are clear. A string of rocks tapers out into the cove, a lone rowboat floats at high tide. In the morning the water stands still, rippling from the occasional gust of wind, resounding the chirps and chatters of coastal birds. Gone from the shoreline are the black, netted bags that served as oyster pods in the attempt to revive the shellfish population in the pond over the last decade.
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) will develop a cooperative management plan for the Menemsha Pond with $181,590 in tribal wildlife grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The management plan would not only ensure the proper management of the bay scallop resource in Menemsha Pond, but also create a framework for management of other important resources, such as American oysters, herring species, winter flounder, American eels, and any other resource found in the connected pond system, according to a statement from the federal officials.
The waters around Menemsha Pond are a bit cleaner today thanks to the efforts of a regional high school sophomore, Isabel Smith, of West Tisbury, who was scouting for a science fair project she could do last month. Miss Smith did a project on Creating the Most Effective Catch Basin that is already yielding some real-world results.