The water quality on Cape Cod’s ponds and bays is bad and getting worse, according to the second annual State of the Waters report from the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (AAPC), a regional environmental advocacy and education organization. While the report says that public drinking water is “excellent” overall, the percentage of surface water with “unacceptable” quality increased from last year.
CHATHAM — People have grown to expect that hot summer weather drives pond algae blooms. But with temperatures cooling into autumn, it was a little jarring last week to hear that Chatham had closed Goose Pond to people and pets after a cyanobacterial bloom was detected.
The Mashpee Enterprise: APCC: Conditions Worsen For Cape Cod’s Saltwater Embayments, Freshwater Ponds
Nutrient pollution has long degraded Cape Cod’s bays and estuaries, but data analyzed by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod suggests the Cape’s freshwater ponds also might be nearing a state of crisis.
In the second annual “State of the Waters” report released on Monday, October 26, the APCC, an environmental nonprofit group, determined that 38 of 48 saltwater embayments had “unacceptable” water quality—an increase from last year’s numbers.
In early August, carpenter Michael Forgione told his mother that he was heading out to go crabbing in the brackish waters of Chilmark Pond on Martha’s Vineyard. Carol Forgione, a 72-year-old nurse practitioner, wished him a good catch. “This is the pond,” she said on a recent visit. “This is the entrance that he went into. And then the public entrance is just down the road.” Full Article
Cape Cod’s freshwater ponds are the home of turtles. Self-taught naturalist and author of The Turtle Sisters, Susan Baur, swims the Cape’s freshwater ponds and has taken a keen interest in observing the lives of turtles beneath the surface of the water. This is video is by Susan of a musk turtle. She visits the ponds frequently enough that she recognizes them as individuals, and they recognize her.
Coastal plain ponds are ecologically unique and a globally rare habitat. We have coastal plain ponds here on Cape Cod, proving once again that we live in a very special place. The Cape’s freshwater ponds are connected to groundwater, which is recharged by the rain and snow that falls and soaks into the ground. Unlike other parts of the country where streams and rivers fill the ponds and lakes, it is precipitation that replenishes our freshwater on Cape Cod. (download PDF) Full Article
If you have a swim float, a float at the end of your dock, or maybe a float on your mooring, have you looked at it lately? Most likely it’s made with buoyant blocks of blue polystyrene. Read more (PDF) …
Photo Credit: Collage by Suzanna Nickerson, photo by Gerald Beetham.
New video from APCC on the cyanobacteria monitoring program. Special thanks to Joshua Maloney.
Cape Cod’s freshwater ponds are special ecosystems that offer beauty and recreational enjoyment. However, poor water quality and warming temperatures is contributing to cyanobacteria blooms whose toxicity can be harmful to pets, humans and wildlife. APCC started a program in 2017 that monitors freshwater ponds for these cyanobacteria blooms. With the help of APCC summer interns, volunteers, pond associations and several towns, we are sampling ponds and reporting out to the public and town officials so that warnings can be posted when warranted.
A public service announcement about cyanobacteria on Cape Cod from the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. APCC monitors over 50 ponds on Cape Cod for cyanobacteria blooms and post the status of these ponds on an interactive map at APCC.org. When high levels are detected, we notify the town officials where the pond is located, so they can take the appropriate action to warn the public.