"Caught In The Act" - Doing Good

This summer our crew was caught in the act…. of doing good! The Edgartown Police Department spotted our team cleaning the beach this July! These three were added to our team this year to clean the beach twice a week over the summer. The difference was noticeable on State Beach and were excited to continue this project in the future. Thanks Tucker, Paul, and Jake!

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FOS MEP Presentation to Selectman

According to the Mass Estuaries (MEP) report:

Sengekontacket Pond exceeds a healthy nitrogen limit NOW

.35 mg per liter per day (TMDL)

Remediation(removing nitrogen) and permanent reductionof daily nitrogen contribution are required

Further development in the watershed must be controlled

The Joint Committee on Sengekontacket recommends:

Public policy of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown commit to restore and protect water quality in Sengekontacket Pond:—Adopt the findings of the MEP—Adopt bylaws or a DCPC that designates the Pond as a cherished natural resource

Collaborate across Towns and among planning, health, conservation, waste water, water and shellfish departments to maintain water quality

Fund necessary remediation, restoration, maintenance and public awareness

Key findings of the MEP report on Sengekontacket:

Daily nitrogen limit for a healthy pond:.35 mg. per liter per day

On average all pond embayments exceed this limit withoutfurther build out

Worst nitrogen levels—Major’s Cove and Trapps Pond significantly exceed the limit

Farm Neck and Ocean Heights are periodically above the limit

MEP suggested pond restoration plan:

  • Remove 60% of septic waste water in the Major’s Cove watershed
  • Remove 100% of the septic waste water in the Trapps Pond watershed
  • Reduce fertilizer in Farm Neck watershed
  • Filter wastewater in Farm Neck and Ocean Heights watersheds
  •  Health, Shellfish, Conservation, Planning, Wastewaterand Water should jointly  implement a corrective plan:
  • Adopt a joint District of Critical Planning (DCPC) to achieve the TMDL
  • Amend zoning bylaws to limit additional bedroom capacity as a result of sewering
  • Coordinate use of sewering resources and alternatives to improveMajor’s Cove and Trapps Pond
  • Pursue funding for enhanced nitrogen removal systems for year round residents in sensitive watersheds
  • Adopt a septic system bylaw (such as that in Tisbury) that requires inventory and testing of all septic systems with requirements for corrective action
  • Test residential drinking water wells including levels of nitrogen. Collect the results and use these to identify “paths” of excess nitrogen in the watershed.

DCPC should include:

  • 500’ setbacks from wetlands or coastal zones
  • Prohibit building, inappropriate landscaping and uncorrected runoff
  • Specify maximum square footage of lawns and impervious surfaces

Edgartown should:

  • Explore private sewering in the Cow Bay and Oak Dale watersheds
  • Work with Mass Highway to fund enlarged culvert for Trapps Pond

Oak Bluffs should:

  • Investigate whether nitrogen filtering from Wiggy’s Pond can be improved and implement any identified improvements
  • Investigate and require corrective measures for the use of excess fertilizer, mowing and overwatering at golf clubs in the watershed


The Joint Committee and FOS will help restore water quality in Senge:

  • Support the Clam Bioremediation project (Funded byFOS for summer 2012)
  • Send Senge awareness guidance to riparian landowners (86 letters sent; funded by FOS) buffer and native landscaping
    • septic inspections
    • composting toilets
    • enhanced nitrogen removal systems
    • limit fertilizer, watering, impervious surfaces
    • manage water runoff
  • Assist Town Shellfish Constables and MVC’s Water Resources Planner to continue water quality testing, data collection, analysis and reporting (Funded in part by FOS)
  • Review septic records in both towns for failed systems that might indicate nitrogen contributions (FOS completed)
  • Prepare MEP findings and urgency summary for all residents (FOS provided to pond homeowner associations this summer)
  • Investigate holding a Septic Social or other ways to model preferred water conservation behaviors and demonstrate benefits of enhanced nitrogen removal systems.