Winter's finally arrived and those of us wintering on the Cape are in the unusual position of watching our southern friends and family struggle with two feet of snow while we escaped the wrath of Jonas. Hopefully, they'll dig themselves out, their roads will clear, and everyone will be safe. No doubt, we'll have our chance sooner than we know it.
Stepping in as president, working with OPC's board, and writing my first Bulletin has given me a chance to look back at OPC's legacy. I'm proud of the organization and I thank all of you for making it possible to take on the many projects we have underway at the Orleans Pond Coalition. WeCelebrate Our Waters, protect our ponds, distribute over 40,000 Mutt Mitts, raise a similar number of oysters, and publish Ponderings, Water Water Everywhere, and this Bulletin. We're also proud to help Orleans move forward, slowly but surely, as we continue to work through the details behind the Consensus Agreement the Orleans voters approved last spring.
This work and all the other projects we take on are all in support of the mission and vision our board recently reaffirmed:
The Orleans Pond Coalition is dedicated to the protection and health of our shared watersheds, estuaries, ponds, and lakes.
Healthy waters and watersheds achieved through leadership in water quality education, advocacy, programs and partnerships.
OPC's Officers and Board of Directors
Join me in welcoming OPC's new officers and board of directors:
Jim McCauley, President
Sandy Bayne, Vice President
Per John Ostman, Treasurer
Pat Fallender, Secretary
Next time you see them, please thank them for their work in supporting OPC. If you have any questions or suggestions about OPC's programs, please don't hesitate to contact anyone on the board.
Moving Ahead With Wastewater
At last spring's Town Meeting, voters unanimously approved the Consensus Agreement developed by the Orleans Water Quality Advisory Panel. Since then, Orleans has hired AECOM to lead this year’s efforts and everyone we’ve spoken with is delighted with the work they’ve already done. It took a while to select AECOM and get their contract signed, but they are now rapidly moving forward on many fronts. Between the Cape Cod Commission’s 208 process and last year’s Water Quality Advisory Panel, many of us have been to quite a few wastewater planning meetings. While we've covered a lot of ground the past two years, this year’s work feels different. The town has picked up the pace, is making decisions, and finally moving forward.
The Orleans Water Quality Advisory Panel met last week and we got an update on quite a few efforts:
AECOM is working on a financial model to help identify and present costs for the proposed solutions, along with helping us understand how we’ll fund and pay for those costs. By town meeting, we should have a far clearer view into the finances than we’ve ever had before.
The team is deep into evaluating alternate technologies, looking at specific sites, projected costs, benefits and the like. At last week's meeting, there were breakout sessions for permeable reactive barriers, floating vegetated wetlands, and aquaculture. At the PRB session, it was immediately obvious that talking about the specifics of a PRB on Main Street at Route 28 is a completely different conversation than discussing a PRB in theory. AECOM is well on the way towards recommending specific pilot projects for the town.
On December 15th, AECOM presented the initial results of their analysis for town center and started a conversation about revitalizing the center of town. They showed how the lack of affordable housing makes it very difficult for young families to work and live here, a long term challenge which has led to Orleans being the grayest town on the Cape. One more reason for encouraging the town to move forward to address its wastewater challenges.
Orleans, along with Eastham and Brewster, has decided to allow Tri-Town’s permit to expire at the end of the year and are moving ahead with plans to demolish the plant next year. Best case, Tri-Town will accept “donations” until the end of October, although uncertainties with staffing may force them to curtail operations before that. In last year’s water quality advisory panel, we had expected the town to continue operations until a new plant was in place, so this is a bit of a change in course. However, it doesn’t affect the key components of the Consensus Agreement and the town is still moving ahead in that direction.
OPC is delighted with the progress AECOM is making and will continue to encourage the town to bring clear, well-reasoned recommendations to this spring's town meeting. For more details on the work done last year, please see the Water Quality & Wastewater Planning Program Status Update.
Next month's OPC Bulletin will provide quite a bit more information on the town's wastewater efforts, including more detailed information about last week's OWQAP meeting and AECOM's analysis for town center. Meanwhile, AECOM has scheduled several public meetings to review their plans and we encourage you to attend them in person or view the on-demand videos:
Town Center Planning Workshop #2, Feb 4, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Council on Aging
Adaptive Management Workshop #1, Feb 9, 1 - 4 pm, Town Hall
Adaptive Management Workshop #2, Feb 10, 8:30 - noon, Town Hall
Design-Build and Public-Private Partnerships, Board of Selectmen meeting
Feb 10, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Town Hall
Orleans Water Quality Advisory Panel, Feb 17, 9 am - 12 noon, Town Hall
Water, Water Everywhere
View the latest edition of our monthly feature in the Cape Codder, at The Seasons of Cape Cod, complete with beautiful photographs by our local photographers.
OPC's Pond Protection Committee Revs Up for 2016
OPC's Pond Protection Committee is already hard at work in the new year, moving ahead to develop an education program around fertilizer, working with the town and the Cape Cod Commission to analyze our freshwater pond monitoring information, and to launch programs to support Boland Pond, Uncle Harvey's Pond, and Pilgrim Lake. For more information about these efforts, see our Pond Protection Committee's Plans for 2016.
We also have a request. We're updating our web site and plan to have a section featuring the many ponds in Orleans. We'd love to include your stories and family histories about any of our ponds, with Uncle Harvey's Pond first on our list. Please forward whatever you have toInfo@OrleansPondCoalition.org. Thanks!
Celebrate Our Waters 2016 – Save The Date
We're already starting to plan for this year's Celebrate Our Waters on September 16, 17, and 18. If you have any suggestions for events or would like to help out with the preparations, please send your ideas to CelebrateOurWaters@OrleansPondCoalition.org.
Disney's The Finest Hours
Congratulations to our friends at the Orleans Historical Society and Orleans's newest movie star, the Coast Guard's CG36500 lifeboat with the release of the latest Disney film.