Below is our list of a few of the activities we will pursue to protect and improve Waquoit Bay over the next coming years, 2015-2018:
1. Engage in the Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan (CWMP) process for the Waquoit Bay watershed in both Falmouth and Mashpee. Mashpee is well into its plan for Waquoit Bay and we must join with them to address wastewater issues in a concerted manner. Conventional sewering is the most expensive and probably the least environmentally friendly way to address wastewater. We will invest time to understand alternatives. We will continue to educate members about the problem.
2. Follow the proceedings of the Falmouth Water Quality Resource Committee (WQRC) as they explore and promote low-cost alternatives to sewering that are feasible. The WQRC is investigating shellfish propagation, eco-toilets, innovative septic systems and permeable reactive barriers. We will transfer information to local residents by providing educational workshops locally.
3. We will locate and map all road run-off sites. We will notify municipal and state departments of required repairs. Road run-off is a major source of toxic pollutants and nitrogen. It literally kills fish. There are many locations where storm water runs directly into our tributaries. We need to locate them and bring them to the attention of the state and town so appropriate preventative measures are installed. This will take volunteers to go out during a rain event to document the source of run-off.
4. We will raise awareness about the dangers of pet waste in the watershed. Most people are unaware that the waste from even one dog can close an area to shellfishing or swimming. It is best to pick it up with appropriate bags and put it into the trash. We would like to run an education program that will make people aware by placing informational brochures in Vet offices, town offices and directly at locations in the watershed that are frequented by people and their dogs.
5. We will attempt to establish free portable pump out services for boats on the bay. While there are public pump out facilities at the boat yards, it is inconvenient and sometimes difficult for bigger boats to get to the boat yards. We will investigate the feasibility of a boat that can regularly offer pump out services to boats moored in the bay.
6. Initiate an educational program about the watershed with Falmouth and Mashpee schools. The Westport River Watershed Alliance has developed a highly regarded STEM certified program that teaches children watershed science. We can get their time-tested curricula to use here in the Waquoit Bay watershed.
7. We will continue to advocate for more open space in the watershed. We need people to help in this effort by notifying us when land is on the market or destined to be put on the market shortly. The sooner owners can be contacted, the more likely an accommodation can be reached. Short of selling, conservation and agricultural restrictions can be established to reduce property taxes.
8. We will invite builders, plumbers and architects to workshops that teach about environmentally appropriate design and construction. Eco-toilets can be retrofitted or designed into homes quite easily if the builder, plumbers and architects are familiar with them. Rain water from roofs can be captured and stored.