The Project

Nutrients are essential to the vitality of our coastal ecosystem. Nutrients, in particular phosphorus and nitrogen, support the growth of aquatic plants, which in turn provide food for the fish, shellfish, and other organisms that live in our coastal waters. An excess of nutrients can result in a decline in aquatic plants and wildlife, negatively impacting these coastal ecosystems. Nutrients come from a variety of sources, including natural and anthropogenic sources. Anthropogenic sources can include septic systems, fertilizer application, and stormwater runoff.

In 2001, the Massachusetts Estuaries Project (MEP) was created to help determine current nitrogen loads to southeastern Massachusetts estuaries and evaluate reductions that would be necessary to support healthy ecosystems. The MEP is a collaborative effort between MassDEP, UMass Dartmouth, and southern Massachusetts communities. MEP evaluations will be completed for approximately 70 coastal embayments in southern Massachusetts.

The MEP uses a linked model to evaluate nitrogen inputs to estuaries. This information is used by MassDEP to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for each estuary studied. TMDLs calculate the maximum amount of a pollutant (nitrogen in this case) that a waterbody can assimilate and still support a healthy ecosystem (i.e., meet surface water quality standards and support public health). The MEP also provides technical guidance to support appropriate wastewater, watershed, and embayment management techniques to reduce nitrogen loading. This technical guidance is being used by communities to support the development of Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plans (CWMPs).

 

The Reports

The Massachusetts Estuaries Project Reports: The Cape

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Wellfleet Harbor Embayment System, Wellfleet, MA - 2017  pdf format of mep-wellfleet-uc.pdf
file size 6MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Sandwich Harbor Estuary, Sandwich, MA - 2015  pdf format of mep_sandwich_uc.pdf
file size 6MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Scorton Creek Estuarine System, Sandwich, MA - 2015  pdf format of mep_scorton_uc.pdf
file size 7MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Rushy Marsh, Barnstable, MA - 2008  pdf format of 3Bays
file size 8MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Allen, Wychmere, & Saquatucket Harbor Embayment Systems, Harwich MA - 2010  pdf format of mep_allen_lc.pdf
file size 9MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Bass River Embayment System, Towns of Yarmouth & Dennis, MA - 2011  pdf format of mep_bassriver_mc.pdf
file size 12MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Centerville River, Barnstable, MA - 2006  pdf format of mep_centerville_mc.pdf
file size 11MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Stage Harbor, Sulfur Springs, Taylors Pond, Bassing Harbor, & Muddy Creek, Chatham, MA - 2003  pdf format of mep_chatham_lc.pdf
file size 43MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Re-evaluate Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Stage Harbor/Oyster Pond, Sulphur Springs/Bucks Creek and Taylors Pond/Mill Creek Chatham, MA - 2007  pdf format of mep-chatham-lc-add.pdf
file size 3MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Falmouth Inner Harbor Embayment System, Falmouth MA - 2013  pdf format of mep_falmouth_uc.pdf
file size 4MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Fiddlers Cove & Rands Harbor Embayment Systems, Falmouth MA - 2013  pdf format of mep_fiddlers_uc.pdf
file size 7MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Great Perch Pond, Green Pond, & Bournes Pond, Falmouth MA - 2005  pdf format of mep_ggb_uc.pdf
file size 25MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Herring River Embayment System, Harwich MA - 2013  pdf format of mep_herringriver_lc.pdf
file size 10MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Lewis Bay Embayment System, Barnstable/Yarmouth, MA - 2008  pdf format of mep_lewisbay_mc.pdf
file size 13MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Little Pond System, Falmouth, MA - 2006  pdf format of mep_littlepond_uc.pdf
file size 7MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Namskaket Marsh Estuarine System, Orleans, MA - 2008  pdf format of mep_namskaket_lc.pdf
file size 4MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Nauset Harbor Embayment System, Orleans & Eastham, MA - 2012  pdf format of mep_nauset_lc.pdf
file size 11MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Oyster Pond System, Falmouth MA - 2006  pdf format of mep_oysterpond_uc.pdf
file size 5MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Parkers River Embayment System, Yarmouth MA - 2010  pdf format of mep_parkersriver_mc.pdf
file size 9MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Phinneys Harbor, Eel Pond, & Back River System, Bourne MA - 2006  pdf format of mep_phinneys_uc.pdf
file size 6MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Pleasant Bay System, Orleans, Chatham, Brewster & Harwich, MA - 2006  pdf format of mep_pleasant_lc.pdf
file size 15MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Popponesset Bay, Mashpee & Barnstable, MA - 2004  pdf format of mep_popponesset_uc.pdf
file size 14MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Quissett Harbor Embayment System, Falmouth, MA - 2013  pdf format of mep_quissett_uc.pdf
file size 6MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Rock Harbor Embayment System, Orleans, MA - 2008  pdf format of mep_rockharbor_lc.pdf
file size 5MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Salt Harbor Embayment System, Falmouth, MA - 2014  pdf format of mep_saltharbor_uc.pdf
file size 6MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Swan Pond River Embayment System, Dennis, MA - 2012  pdf format of mep_swanpond_mc.pdf
file size 6MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Waquoit Bay & Eel Pond Embayment System, Falmouth & Mashpee, MA - 2013  pdf format of mep_waquoit_uc.pdf
file size 11MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for West Falmouth Harbor, Falmouth, MA - 2006  pdf format of mep_westfalmouth_uc.pdf
file size 8MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Wild Harbor Embayment System, Falmouth, MA - 2013  pdf format of mep_wildharbor_uc.pdf
file size 5MB

The Massachusetts Estuaries Project Reports: The Islands

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Chilmark Pond Embayment System, Chilmark, MA - 2015  pdf format of mep_chilmark_isle.pdf
file size 9MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Edgartown Great Pond System, Edgartown, MA - 2008  pdf format of mep_edgartown_isle.pdf
file size 5MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Farm Pond System, Oak Bluffs, MA - 2010  pdf format of mep_farmpond_isle.pdf
file size 4MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Lagoon Pond Embayment System, Oak Bluffs & Tisbury, MA - 2010  pdf format of mep_lagoon_isle.pdf
file size 9MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Madaket Harbor & Long Pond Estuarine System, Nantucket, MA - 2010  pdf format of mep_madeket_isle.pdf
file size 10MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Nantucket Harbor, Nantucket, MA - 2006  pdf format of mep_nantucket_isle.pdf
file size 13MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for the Oak Bluffs Harbor System, Oak Bluffs, MA - 2013  pdf format of mep_oakbluffs_isle.pdf
file size 5MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Sengekontacket Pond System, Oak Bluffs & Edgartown, MA - 2011  pdf format of mep_senge_isle.pdf
file size 13MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Sesachacha Pond, Nantucket, MA - 2006  pdf format of mep_sesachacha_isle.pdf
file size 3MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Lake Tashmoo Estuary, Tisbury, West Tisbury, and Oak Bluffs, MA  pdf format of Linked Watershed-Embayment Model for Lake Tashmoo
file size 15MB

Linked Watershed-Embayment Model to Determine Critical Nitrogen Loading Thresholds for Tisbury Great Pond/Black Point Pond System, Dennis, MA - 2013  pdf format of mep_tisbury_isle.pdf
file size 7MB