Heather Goldstone of Climatide wrote a very good article about a hot topic here on the Cape. Towns across Cape Cod are wrestling with how to fund massive investments in infrastructure designed to mitigate coastal eutrophication, while struggling with the fundamental question of what to do to address nutrient pollution.
Dr. Goldstone succinctly outlines the four options that are on the table (wastewater treatment plants, alternative systems, shellfish aquaculture, and increased flushing…of the bays not toilets) and reminds us that there is no “ace in the hole”. In fact, as Woods Hole Group has helped towns understand and review the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) models driving this debate, we have concluded that solutions must be tailored to fit the unique challenges and opportunities of each embayment and its surrounding development patterns.
One encouraging piece of news can be found in the bowels (please excuse the pun) of the Falmouth Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan, which was recently approved by the town’s Board of Selectmen. The CWMP sets aside 12% of the proposed $15M budget to essentially begin an adaptive management program at Bourne’s Pond – with demonstration projects including increasing tidal flushing, installing a 15 acre oyster bed, and installing a 1500-foot permeable reactive barrier. This sort of forward thinking and willingness to test science-based adaptive management is going to be essential in finding sustainable solutions throughout the Cape.