Friends of Sengekontacket
Annual Report 2018-2019
State Beach Cleanup Projects – FOS continued our intensive beach cleanup campaign this year. We funded young workers to pick up trash along the beaches several times per week, and in partnership with Dukes County we funded the Beach Patrol Officer to pick up along the roadside daily. We received many comments about the beach cleanliness, and received a “Community Service Thank You” from the Edgartown Police Department on their website.
FOS continues to sponsor intensive (beaches, dunes and pathways) cleanup projects three times per year (October, Earth Day and late June). Again this year, through our intense social media advertising campaign, we had over 60 volunteers turn out to help clean up the beach and dunes from Bend-in-Road to Little Bridge.
SENGEKONTACKET IN-WATER POND PROGRAMS
Summer interns – Now for the fifth year, in partnership with the OB and Edgartown Shellfish Departments and the MVC, we funded two students studying marine and environmental sciences to work in hands-on educational programs. Tasks included preparing oyster nursery rafts and placing over 3 million quahog seeds into the rafts and releasing year old oysters (~500,000) from oyster cages into the pond. They also raised bay scallops, quahogs and steamer clams at the MV Shellfish Group hatchery and routinely did water quality sampling. Both interns, Emma Galante, a Graduate student at Boston University, and Maddie Latimore, a sophomore at Colby College have family and friends on MV.
Experimental Oyster Beds – FOS continues sponsorship of an MV Shellfish Group project, led by shellfish biologist Rick Karney, to develop small oyster beds in the upper reaches of Majors Cove to help mitigate nutrient inputs and reduce algal blooms before they work their way downstream to the larger pond. The project uses spat-onshell oyster clusters which are generally believed to be less appealing to predators and usually used for restoration rather than harvest. Our goal is to establish larger groupings of clustered oysters that would remain largely unharvested with the hopes that they would reproduce and become a self-sustaining population. Spat-on-shell oysters were produced in shellfish hatcheries in 2018 and planted in four sites in Senge. Samples collected from these sites in the fall of 2019 are encouraging with a good number of healthy oyster clusters retrieved (photo) which support continued efforts to establish an oyster population in Majors Cove
BARRIER BEACH PROGRAMS
Dunes Restoration and Nourishment - Continuing our partnership with Dukes County, we oversee the system of sand fencing and nourishment to rebuild the dunes on State Beach. Over 4500 cubic yards of sand dredged from the Little Bridge channel in January was spread on the most vulnerable dune areas. FOS sponsored a volunteer planting of an additional 2500 sq ft of new beach grass in March. Almost 50 volunteers came out to support us in this year’s plantings.
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
Carry In /Carry Home Program - Instituted more than twenty-five years ago, the project is a hallmark of FOS’s education outreach. A competition is held at the Oak Bluffs and Edgartown schools each year to develop artwork to be displayed on signs at the 48 beach entrances. (The winning students from Edgartown are pictured). The Steamship Authority asked for a full set of posters and are displaying them on the island ferries.
Environmental Education Program - Educators from Felix Neck developed and deliver classroom programs in all Island schools and lead field trips based on state-mandated curriculum standards. With the support of FOS, Felix Neck staff now reach out to middle school teachers to increase participation in water education programs with students from Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. These programs include Sengekontacket specific programming including classes and field trips on watersheds, water quality, pond wildlife, and natural history of the Sengekontacket area.
Ag Fair – The director of the Ag Fair attended the introduction in June of our NIPSY sculpture (made from trash picked up on the State Beach) and requested we bring her to the Fair with promise of a prime location. NIPSY drew great attention and won 2 blue ribbons, helping us raise awareness about plastic pollution.
Oar and Paddle Regatta – There is no better illustration of the fun that can be had on Sengekontacket than the Oar and Paddle Regatta, sponsored by Island Spirit Kayak, which raised over $4,000 for FOS.