For Immediate Release - December 02, 2016

MassDEP Seeks Public Comment on Plan to Restore the Health of Bass River, Swan Pond River and Parkers River on Cape Cod

Public Meeting to be held Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in Dennis Council on Aging Office, Route 134

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, seeking comments on a draft document identifying the need to limit and reduce the nutrient nitrogen in the coastal waters of Bass River, Parkers River and Swan Pond River estuarine systems on Cape Cod. The public is invited to the meeting, which will be held at 2 p.m. in the Dennis Council on Aging office, 1045 Rt. 134 in South Dennis.

The Bass River estuarine system is located in Dennis and Yarmouth, the Swan Pond River estuarine system is located in Dennis and the Parkers River estuarine system is located in Yarmouth. The restoration plans for these estuarine systems, formulated by MassDEP and the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), are proposed as part of a comprehensive, collaborative project intended to improve estuarine water quality in 70 embayments along the southeastern Massachusetts coastline.

These coastal water body systems are currently impaired because of excess nutrients, mainly nitrogen, which chokes water bodies with harmful algae, depletes oxygen for fish and shellfish populations, destroys critical eelgrass beds needed for sustaining marine life and reduces swimming, fishing and boating opportunities throughout these local waters.

At the public meeting, MassDEP staff will present a draft Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for limiting nitrogen to the amounts that the water bodies can absorb without violating water quality standards and impairing uses such as fishing and recreational activities. The plan calls for reducing watershed sources of nitrogen by up to 80 percent. Most of the reductions will be from better treatment and handling of wastewater, but nitrogen from storm water and fertilizer use should also be controlled wherever possible.

A copy of this MassDEP Draft TMDL Report for Total Nitrogen and a further explanation of the TMDL Program are available here. The Massachusetts Estuaries Project Final Technical Report for Bass River, Swan Pond River and Parkers River on which the TMDL was based, is available here.

The public comment period ends at 5 p.m., January 16, 2017. Written comments can be submitted to: Barbara Kickham, Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Watershed Management, 8 New Bond Street, Worcester, MA 01606. Electronic format comments should be sent to:  

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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