At our weekly staff meeting I asked for thoughts on what to write about today. It was suggested that I try focusing on some good things that are happening instead of pulling my flamethrower out of the closet yet again. While not my usual, I decided to try it and give APCC staff, and all you readers as well, a little break. Happily, it is pretty easy to find a lot of good things to mention because the people of Cape Cod are doing good things for our environment every day and our towns continue to demonstrate that local government, pushed along by environmentally minded voters, functions better than other levels of government.

So, off the top of my head, here are some good things to celebrate:

The purchase and preservation of Sipson’s Island in Pleasant Bay. The project, spearheaded by the Cape’s newest land trust, the Sipson Island Trust, Inc., over an 18-month sprint drafted an island management plan, negotiated conservation restrictions, recruited a partner land trust (Orleans Conservation Trust), and closed the deal on a $5.4 million project. The project maintains and preserves a saltwater island in Pleasant Bay for future generations.

The long worked on and much awaited Herring River Restoration Project, the most ambitious wetland restoration project ever on Cape Cod, passed a huge milestone with the unanimous approval of the project from the Cape Cod Commission. The Commission’s approval enables the project to move forward into the permitting process and provides needed momentum to this landmark project.

The Childs River restoration project in Falmouth and Mashpee has been bid and is ready to go to construction. Another example of the return of fallow cranberry bogs to natural wetland system, much like the successful and recently completed Coonamessett River restoration, offers a return of brook trout habitat, better fish passage, improved water quality and increased storm resiliency.

Lastly, and near and dear to my heart, are a number of actions approved Monday night at Mashpee’s town meeting. Included in a good night for the environment were approvals to design the town’s first advanced wastewater treatment facility, the creation of a water infrastructure investment fund to provide a dedicated special source of revenue to fund long term water quality improvement, the purchase and permanent protection of a bog and wooded uplands adjacent to Santuit Pond and funds to design a restoration of the bog to a natural wetlands system.

There are other examples to point to but they all share one common theme and that is the role played by dedicated volunteers and voters who made something good happen. The lesson here for all of us is that individual actions matter at all levels, but none more so than at the local level. Ok, that made me feel better, how about you?