Shellfish Plan Spans Chilmark and Tisbury
Ivy Ashe

With nitrogen pollution a perpetual concern for Vineyard waterways, two towns are hoping that a shellfish experiment will be the latest puzzle piece to fall into place.

Voters in Chilmark and Tisbury will be asked at their respective town meetings next week to fund pilot programs aimed at reducing nitrogen levels in two locations: Chilmark Pond and Lagoon Pond. Through the funding and a partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, test reefs of noncommercial oysters will be cultivated, in addition to beds of native ribbed mussels.

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Strock Family Gifts Lagoon Beachfront to Land Bank
Julia Wells
The 1,000-foot crescent of sand that lies south of the Lagoon Pond Bridge came as an early Christmas present for the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank, where outright gifts of land are rare.
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Tisbury Selectmen Close Part of Lagoon to Scalloping
Ivy Ashe
A portion of Lagoon Pond on the Vineyard Haven side was closed to bay scalloping this week to protect a healthy crop of seed scallops in the area.
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Ponds Reopen
The town of Oak Bluffs has re-opened two Lagoon Pond beaches Monday morning to swimming. Medeiros Cove off the Sailing Camp Park and the drawbridge beach at Eastville were closed last week when water samples revealed high counts of enterococci, a bacteria that can indicate the presence of fecal contamination. Follow-up tests this week confirmed that water quality now meets state standards.
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Lagoon Pond Well Operating Again; Urgency Added to Search for New Well Site
Olivia Hull

The town of Oak Bluffs closed two Lagoon Pond beaches Wednesday morning to swimming. Samples of saltwater taken on Monday tested positive for high counts of a bacteria known as enterococci, a bacteria that can indicate the presence of fecal contamination.

The town closed Medeiros Cove off the Sailing Camp Park and the drawbridge beach at Eastville. A harborside Eastville beach remains open.

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Algae Harvesting Program Aims to Improve Pond Health

A dozen volunteers gathered at the Lagoon Pond last Saturday morning to do something no one could recall being done on the Vineyard. They came to harvest floating mats of algae in Mud Creek in Vineyard Haven. It was both an experiment and a beginning for an expanding effort to manage and improve the water quality in coastal ponds.

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Selectman Skeptical About Oyster Farm Plan in Lagoon Pond
Sara Brown

A plan for a large oyster farm in Lagoon Pond spurred debate in Oak Bluffs this week, with town officials weighing concerns about the location and effects of the proposed farm with the potential benefits of aquaculture. Brothers Dan and Greg Martino applied for an aquaculture license to start a four-acre oyster farm at the southern end of Lagoon Pond.

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Decline in Water Quality Puts Island Ponds In Jeopardy
Katie Ruppel

A pair of quahauggers stood waist-deep in Sengekontacket Pond early Thursday morning, the late August sun glinting off the calm water as they raked hardshell clams, perhaps a basketful for their dinner. The pond has been open to summer shellfishing this year for the first time since 2007.

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Lagoon Pond Analysis Ends
Mark Alan Lovewell
Leaching nitrogen from residential households remains the single biggest threat to the water quality of Lagoon Pond, according to a recently completed water quality study. In a report delivered to the Lagoon Pond Association, its author found significant increases in nitrates entering the pond. The report is based on a series of water samplings conducted last summer.

Bruce Poole of SP Engineering Inc.

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Shellfish Kill at Lagoon Hatchery; Ninety Per Cent of Crop Is Lost; Failing Water Quality Is Cited
Julia Wells

The director of the Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group said yesterday that nearly four million healthy juvenile shellfish under culture at his Lagoon Pond hatchery have died in the last three weeks because of extremely poor water quality in the pond.

The deteriorating water quality has not affected mature shellfish and there is no danger to humans who eat shellfish from the pond.

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