Massachusetts Estuaries Project
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.
Edgartown Great Pond Receives State Assistance
By MANDY LOCKE
Edgartown's beloved Great Pond, a delicate balance of fresh
and salt water that has become fragile as a result of the burdens of
development, is at the top of the state's priority list to receive
a comprehensive estuary restoration plan.
"They will essentially hand us the tools for managing the
watershed and an understanding of the mechanics of doing that,"
said Tom Wallace, president of the Great Pond Foundation, a nonprofit
group formed in 1999 to protect the health of the pond.
Commission Votes to Approve Kennedy Family Property Plan
By IAN FEIN
Ensuring that Kennedy family members will remain stewards of their
rare Aquinnah estate into the next generation, the Martha's
Vineyard Commission last week approved a subdivision plan for the
366-acre property between Moshup Trail and Squibnocket Pond.
Commission Begins DRI Review of Red Gate Farm Estate Plan
By IAN FEIN
The 366-acre Aquinnah estate known as Red Gate Farm - and
described by the state Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program
as one of the most important tracts of land in the commonwealth -
was the subject of a public hearing at the Martha's Vineyard
Commission last week.
If the Edgartown Great Pond is to be restored to environmental health, town authorities must find a way to cut nitrogen pollution coming from household septic systems by at least 30 per cent, according to a comprehensive scientific study of the pond’s water quality.
Restoring Great Salt Pond
The draft Massachusetts Estuaries Project report on the Edgartown Great Pond obtained by the Gazette last week is required reading for all who live on the Vineyard. The conclusions of the report may be obvious, but no less startling on an Island with a long history of strictly protecting its pristine environment, and they extend well beyond the sandy perimeters of the Edgartown Great Pond: encroaching development and nitrogen escaping from septic systems are polluting Island ponds.
Edgartown wastewater authorities believe a plan to sewer hundreds of homes in the watershed of the Edgartown Great Pond can achieve the 30 per cent reduction in nitrogen pollution required to restore it to health.
A draft report of the Massachusetts Estuaries Project, obtained and published by the Gazette last week, finds the Great Pond’s water quality is significantly affected by heavy nitrogen loading. The biggest single contributor to the problem is household septic systems, the report found.
State auditor Joseph DeNucci delivered a hard blow to the Massachusetts Estuaries project this week, releasing a highly critical audit report on the multi-million dollar project managed by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth to study the health of ponds and estuaries on the Cape and Islands.
The Massachusetts auditor’s report found undocumented contract costs, no-bid contracts and a potential conflict of interest in the project, a sophisticated scientific study begun in 2001 of more than 60 ponds and estuaries from Duxbury to the Cape and Islands.
The first of the long-awaited studies of the health of Vineyard
ponds by the Massachusetts Estuaries Project is set to be released
within weeks and will recommend significant changes to the management of
the Edgartown Great Pond.
Tracing the Problem
The algal bloom in Edgartown Great Pond has prompted much well-justified discussion and concern.The following is intended to provide a little additional detail on prospective solutions to improve the health of the pond.