About a year ago, a handful of neighbors in the Hatchville section of Falmouth began talking about what was happening to our beloved Deep Pond: mats of weeds appearing at the water’s edge; murky, warmer water; fewer frogs and turtles. We also noticed an increase in chemical lawncare company trucks and disappearing foliage on the waterline, all in addition to a major increase in summer recreational activity. By summer 2020, things were worse. Water testing by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod and Falmouth Water Stewards revealed several dangerous cyanobacteria algae blooms.
Powered by our concerns, we launched a campaign to save Deep Pond, a coastal plain pond and Great Pond. Within a few months, we were the Deep Pond Preservation Project, had procured 501(c)3 nonprofit status, and had seen our roster quadruple.
We owe our early success to a dogged effort to connect and network with nearby residents, other local pond associations, the Town of Falmouth’s conservation and health departments, and others. With a mailing list of local property owners (available from the Town assessor) and our own acquaintances, we sent a letter to dozens of residents asking them to join us and adhere to four commitments for the pond’s health, including not fertilizing or removing plants (per Town law). A few weeks later we distributed a flier to around 125 neighborhood homes. We conducted outdoor meetings and switched to Zoom when the weather turned cold.
Today we have 88 people on our mailing list, a Board, a website (deeppondpreservationproject.org), and six workgroups tackling issues like water testing, invasive and endangered plants, runoff, and educating property owners about the issues and how to protect the pond. We are building relationships with Town government, other local pond associations, and groups such as APCC, Falmouth Water Stewards, and MassWildlife.
We, a band of neighborhood residents, have discovered the power and satisfaction of citizen action. Just 10 months in, we have every reason to believe we are changing the course of Deep Pond. We know we can make a difference.
Mary Grauerholz is the President of Deep Pond Preservation Project. For information, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Pond Stories are a collection of writings from Cape Codders and visitors who love the 1000 local ponds that dot the Cape. We hope this collection of stories, that are as much endearing as they are environmentally aware, will awaken your inner environmentalist to think deeper about our human impacts to these unique bodies of water.
Check out these valuable resources to learn more about the current challenges Cape Cod ponds are facing and how you can be a better pond steward in your town.