APCC’s third annual State of the Waters: Cape Cod report is out and we encourage you to review it. While there is a lot of information and important policy recommendations throughout the report, the one I want to focus attention on pertains to lakes and ponds. More specifically, while the report identifies regionwide nutrient enrichment problems responsible for declines in water quality, a priority that requires immediate attention is the funding of a regionwide study needed to create a framework for managing and protecting our freshwater lakes and ponds.

The Cape Cod Commission has proposed that the Barnstable County Commissioners fund a comprehensive, multiyear study of lakes and ponds across the Cape. This study, of scale and scope similar to the transformative 208 study undertaken on estuaries over a decade ago, is needed to create a response strategy to the known factors degrading our freshwater ponds and to gather and interpret the data upon which management decisions can be made. This new study is critical to define a basis for understanding the characteristics of lakes and ponds where water quality is driven by external nutrient loading versus those driven by internal nutrient recycling. Developing this understanding alone will create effective pathways that will guide effective nutrient management steps that towns and residents can apply to protect the lakes and ponds we all care so deeply about.

There is something simple and easy that you can do, right now, to ensure that the lakes and ponds study is prioritized and funded by Barnstable County. The County Commissioners are accepting public input to guide the allocation of federal ARPA funds, and they need to hear from people that lakes and ponds and the quality of their waters are a priority that must be funded. We have made it easy for you have your voice heard. All you have to do is CLICK HERE to send a message of support for water quality to the County Commissioners.

Now is the time for this important work to be funded and undertaken. We know there is a problem and the money is available to do the work that needs to be done. If you agree, say so.