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...]
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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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]