The Lagoon Pond Association is an organization whose mission is to protect, preserve and enhance the character of Lagoon Pond and all immediate areas. Our interests include water quality, the natural beauty and resources such as fishing, shellfishing, recreation and safety.

A recent proposal by the Tisbury harbor management committee to make changes to the waterways regulations has some serious flaws. Some of these flaws are:

1. Allowing live-aboards and house boats. Currently there are no house boats or live-aboards allowed in Lagoon Pond. Lagoon Pond is already an estuary “at risk” due to high levels of nitrogen and loss of eel grass. It is our belief that allowing live-aboards will contribute to additional pollution in the pond. People that are in their boat 24/7 will add unwanted pollutants from gray water full of dish soap, shampoos/conditioners, body oils, etc.

2. Increasing anchorage from three to seven days. Our harbor master is already stretched thin with existing duties. With the possibility of live-aboards and longer anchoring times, who will be responsible to make sure that rules (especially pump-outs) are adhered to?

3. Varying rules between Tisbury and Oak Bluffs. Confusion currently exists from is allowed on the Tisbury side compared to the Oak Bluffs side. Regulations for the Lagoon should be consistent between the two towns. For example, jet skis are allowed in Tisbury at headway speed and but are prohibited on the Oak Bluffs side. Committees from each town who make rules for the Lagoon Pond should communicate and agree on the same rules.

Lagoon Pond is a diverse and sensitive ecosystem with very different uses, concerns and aquaculture than Vineyard Haven harbor. The pond, unlike the harbor, does not easily flush to the open ocean thus creating water quality that is easily degraded. The poor quality of the water and excessive amounts of nitrogen has caused the Mass DEP via the Massachusetts Estuaries Project to designate Lagoon Pond water quality as compromised and in need of clean up.

The pond is home to burgeoning shellfish populations and provides habitats for waterfowl, fish and other species that do not make their homes in the harbor. This excessive nitrogen and other pollutants affects the pond’s ecology and its natural inhabitants such as our shellfish stock, causing a constant concern for our shellfish departments and citizens.

Intensive overuse of the ponds in the summer months adds to the depletion of water quality at a time of year when the ponds are their warmest and overloaded with nitrogen and threatened by algae blooms and harmful bacteria.

If the harbor management committee wants to allow these changes in the harbor, that is fine. But please keep these “flaws” out of Lagoon Pond!

Let the Tisbury selectmen know your concerns.

Doug Reece

Oak Bluffs

The writer is president of the Lagoon Pond Association.