Maintaining the invaluable waterways of Chatham, Cape Cod MA for future generations

Pond Study Group

Friends of Chatham Waterways established the Pond Study Group, a sub-committee, in 2012 to initiate the study and protection of Chatham’s freshwater ponds. The Group was asked to implement a program to collect important data from several ponds and to educate the public about the importance of ponds and how to keep them healthy. In the summer of 2015 testing of six of Chatham’s fresh water ponds began: Barclay, Emery, Lovers, Schoolhouse, Stillwater, and White. Pond volunteers collected data on turbidity, dissolved oxygen levels, and temperature. Over time testing will be expanded to include other ponds that are significant to our aquifer, wildlife habitat and recreation.

The Town’s Department of Natural Resources assists with the project by training and certifying volunteers in the use of the equipment and analyzing the data collected. Testing of the same ponds continued in 2016. This is the start of a long term study to gauge the health of our ponds, discern trends, and consider any necessary remedy.

The Group focuses its public educational efforts on the relationship between our ponds and our drinking water. Since Chatham’s drinking water comes from a single source (like the rest of the Cape), it’s important that our ponds remain healthy. The challenges to fresh water quality come from the same sources that threaten our embayments: primarily septic tanks, fertilizers, and storm water runoff. Further, excess phosphorus introduced into ponds increases vegetative growth that turns the water murky and eutrophic, making it uninhabitable for aquatic pond life and threatening the pond’s natural beauty and recreational uses.

Throughout the summer of 2015 the Pond Study Group wrote a series of 11 articles which appeared in the Cape Cod Chronicle, focusing on best management practices when using fertilizer near fresh water bodies. During the summer of 2016 the Chronicle published seven Pond Group articles which discussed various values of and impacts on fresh water ponds, such as a new way of thinking about home landscapes. Another series is planned for the summer of 2017.

2016 Volunteer Pond Watchers: Michael Brown, Mike & Jackie Page, Michael & Margaret Tompsett, Dianne Semsel, Sandy Giorgetti, Dick Kraycir, Paul & Michele Hudon, Bob Montbach, Dick & Richard Hunter.

2016 Pond Study Group members: Bill Coleman, Barbara Cotnam, DeeDee Holt, Paul Kelley, Todd Kelley, and Martha Stone.

For information on volunteering please send an email to DeeDee: