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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Sengekontacket Pond To Re-Open
Katie Ruppel

Sengekontacket Pond will re-open for shellfishing Friday morning following state tests that came back clean, Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall confirmed.

The pond was closed to shellfishing on July 31 after more than two inches of rain fell, and remained closed this week.

Water testing in the pond was done on Wednesday by the state Division of Marine Fisheries.

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Two Towns Train Their Attention On Troubles at Sengekontacket
Sam Bungey

In a 1952 aerial photograph of Sengekontacket Pond that hangs behind the door to Augustus Ben David’s World of Reptiles And Birds in Edgartown, you can count two properties — the one you’re standing in and the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Today Mr. Ben David estimates that the homes clustered along the shoreline number in the thousands.

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Sengekontacket Pond to Close Permanently in Summer Months
Mike Seccombe

Sengekontacket Pond will be closed to shellfishing for four months each year in the peak summer season on a permanent basis, as a result of intractable problems with high levels of dangerous bacteria.

From now on the pond, which spans Edgartown and Oak Bluffs and is a popular spot for recreational clammers, will be closed from the start of April until the end of September annually.

The closure does not affect swimmers and boaters.

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Kayakers Get an Intimate View Of Sengekontacket Pond’s Beauty
Alexander Trowbridge

Leading a tour of the Sengekontacket, Felix Neck guide Emily Smith rounded Sarsons Island Friday in her red kayak and stopped. Something in the pond had caught her eye. She backtracked, peered into the water for a few moments and then pulled out a horseshoe crab. The kayakers on the tour crowded around for a look, bumping their boats together as they packed in. She flipped the crab over to show its small legs squirming in the air and began spelling out facts about the creature.

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Great Ponds, Great Places
Suzan Bellincampi

“Oh, The Places You Will Go!”

Dr. Seuss was prophetic (and likely his words and works always will be). I have been lucky to have been able to go to many wild and wonderful places both near andfar. The places that inspire me most are always close to water.

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Dredging at Little Bridge
Jim Hickey

The Oak Bluffs conservation commission this week received a waiver from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act that is expected to fast-track plans to dredge Sengekontacket Pond. The dredge project is intended to improve tidal circulation and reduce bacteria levels.

Bacteria counts recorded in 2007 by the Division of Marine Fisheries during an annual spot check showed high levels of coliform bacteria, automatically triggering a three-year closure for shellfishing from June though September. This is the third year for the closure.

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Study Traces Sengekontacket’s Troubles
Peter Brannen

A draft report of the long-awaited Massachusetts Estuaries Project study of Sengekontacket Pond sketches a profile of a coastal pond that is at once troubling and hopeful.

Although the vast pond that spans the towns of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown has undergone significant ecological changes with increased development in the past half century, including a drastic decline in eelgrass beds, specific steps could be taken that would restore the pond to nearly its original state, the report finds.

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Shell May Be Half-Empty But Opening Day Ritual Full Hearted

Oak Bluffs recreational shellfishermen were out Saturday morning at Sengekontacket Pond, a happy day, because it was opening weekend for family scalloping. And while there were not a lot of scallops to find, for most it was reason enough to get out on the water in the bright autumn sunshine.

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Project to Dredge in Sengekontacket Sees Costs Increase
Peter Brannen

Last April Oak Bluffs voters approved borrowing $500,000 to pay for a dredging project in Sengekontacket Pond, but this week town administrator Michael Dutton said the town is having difficulty keeping the long-stalled project under budget.

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