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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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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Hottest Commodity for Sale? Try Sand from Sengekontacket
Jim Hickey

It fills your shoes, ruins the kitchen floor in the summer and gets in your food at picnics.

But whoever thought of sand as a commodity?

On the Vineyard sand is emerging as exactly that, right up there with gold futures and pork bellies, as towns and private groups compete to get their hands on the stuff to use as ammunition in their ongoing battle against erosion.

The value of sand has skyrocketed, and given all the predictions that global warming will cause a rise in sea levels, it’s unlikely to come down anytime soon.

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Big Dig at Edgartown Beach Near Complete
Mark Alan Lovewell

Dredging is nearly complete at the Joseph Sylvia State Beach. For much of the fall, the Edgartown dredge has been pumping sand out of Sengekontacket, deepening a channel on the Oak Bluffs side, with the spoils trucked to Cow Bay for beach nourishment.

Norman Rankow, chairman of the dredge committee, said last week that the work in the area is winding down. The dredge will be removed from the pond probably by mid-January.

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Selectmen Hope to Sell State on Bridge-Jumping Precautions
Sara Brown

The time-honored Vineyard tradition of jumping off the Big Bridge into Sengekontacket Pond has now been joined by a yearly concern about the safety of jumpers — not for their daring leaps into the water below, but for the time they spend sitting and standing on the bridge as traffic whizzes by.

Low railings that divide pedestrians, including bridge jumpers, from Beach Road are the worry, and Oak Bluffs and Edgartown are taking steps to address the problem that they say ultimately should be dealt with by the state.

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Sengekontacket Reopens For Summer Shellfishing
Sara Brown

For the first time in five years, parts of Sengekontacket Pond will be open for shellfishing, at least through June. In July, August and Sepetmber the current plan calls for possible closures following periods of heavy rainfall, but otherwise the same parts of the pond now designated as safe for shellfishing will be kept open.

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