What are the TMDLs? Who utilizes the TMDL’s to determine the remedial action needed? The State has been empowered by the Federal Clean Waters Act* to set TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Loads) for each waterbody. This standard determines how much nitrogen that waterbody may receive on a daily basis in order to maintain or improve the water quality. The State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has contracted with SMAST to utilize the Massachusetts Estuaries Project to establish the TMDLs. Once a TMDL has been set for a waterbody, the … [Read more...]
Ask the Osprey
Ask the Osprey provides an opportunity for our readers to ask questions; send in your thoughts and we'll share our answers with all.
Preventing Fertilizer Contamination
What can we do to prevent lawn fertilizers from contaminating our ponds and estuaries? Towns on the Cape including Orleans recently passed bylaws that reduce excess nitrogen and phosphorus from entering our surface waters and wetlands. Fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus negatively affect our ponds as they move from lawns into the watershed and into our ponds and estuaries. All forms of nitrogen fertilizers and phosphorus promote plant growth including algae in our waters. Mineral and organic substances that contain phosphorus … [Read more...]
What’s Happening with OPC’s Mutt Mitt Program?
It continues to be one of the most popular and effective programs we run! For the past few years, over 30,000 biodegradable Mutt Mitts have been dispensed annually from 50 locations around town including beaches (off season), walking trails, landings, bike paths and other areas frequented by residents and vistors with their dogs. 40+ volunteers stock and maintain these dispensers throughout the year. Dog waste is a serious threat to our waters in two ways: it is high in nutrients contributing to degraded water quality in our ponds and … [Read more...]
Are We Sustaining the Health of our Shellfish?
On the town level, the Shellfish Department grows between 600,000 and 1,000,000 quahaug seed and 250,000 to 400,000 oyster seed annually. Grow-out methods include bottom planting with use of protective netting, stackable trays and plastic mesh bags. The Town does not currently operate an upweller system and obtains its shellfish seed from a local hatchery. Natural oyster production ceased at least three quarters of a century ago so getting them back in Orleans waters would be cause for joy. On the private level, there are now 21 shellfish … [Read more...]
OPC, Fertilizer, and the Health of Our Waterways
What is OPC doing about the issues related to fertilizer and the health of our waterways? OPC has been committed to reducing the use of nitrate and phosphate lawn fertilizers that contribute approximately 16 percent of the excess nitrogen in our waters. Our concern is that more and more Orleans lawns are using irrigation systems that enhance the movement of nitrates and phosphates into our ponds and estuaries. Many of the lawn companies are still promoting green irrigated lawns using traditional bent grass species such as Kentucky Bluegrass. … [Read more...]
What is the Most Important Accomplishment of OPC?
In my estimation the most important accomplishment of OPC is that it has become the most respected and reliable source for scientific and fact based information on waste water and its impact on our waters, both fresh and salt. The only endorsement OPC has ever made has been of the CWMP that has also been approved by the voters of Orleans at Town meeting, the Cape Cod Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. OPC has never advocated for either a centalized or de-centralized solution since the CWMP incorporates both … [Read more...]
What Water Sampling is Happening in Orleans Right Now?
Water Quality monitoring has been taking place in Orleans since 2001. Each year volunteers sample 18 named freshwater ponds in early spring and again in late summer. These are done by kayak or canoe in order to reach the deepest spot in each pond. Measurements are taken for water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and visibility into the water. Samples are taken to determine the phosphorus and nitrogen in the water column. Notes are made about changing conditions and plant and animal life. Each summer similar measurements and sampling takes … [Read more...]
What’s Happening With Cedar Pond These Days?
What’s happening with Cedar Pond these days? Cedar Pond is a brackish pond with salt and fresh layers that do not mix, and which is subject to a constant addition of nutrients. The pond is in a highly eutrophic, unstable, and unhealthy condition. Sources of pollutants include nearby septic systems, stormwater runoff, and the hundreds of cormorants that roost on the power lines over the water surface. An old weir system which regulated tidal inflows from Rock Harbor has deteriorated and no longer controls the water level. In recent years, … [Read more...]
What is a Helix Mooring?
That’s a brand-name and it’s technically more accurate to refer to it as a “screw-in mooring. A screw-in mooring consists of a galvanized shaft with various round plates designed to hold the “screw” into the substrate. Advantages of this type of system include reduced need for scope on the mooring rode and therefore reduced scouring of the substrate. In locations where the substrate consists of fine sediments or organic mud, the use of several extensions may be necessary to achieve desired holding power. It is possible that substrate conditions … [Read more...]