Press Release

Press Release MassDEP Seeks Comments on Cleanup Plan to Restore the Health of Tisbury Great Pond, Black Point Pond Estuarine System on Martha's Vineyard

Public Meeting Set for Jan. 23, at 1 p.m., West Tisbury Public Library, 1042 State Road
For immediate release:
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Media Contact

Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, seeking comments on a draft document identifying the need to limit and reduce the nutrient nitrogen in the coastal waters of the Lake Tashmoo estuarine system on Martha's Vineyard. The meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the meeting room at the West Tisbury Public Library, 1042 State Road.

The restoration plan for this estuary system, formulated by MassDEP and the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), is proposed as part of a comprehensive, collaborative project intended to improve estuarine water quality in 70 embayments along the southeastern Massachusetts coastline.

This coastal water body is currently impaired because of excess nutrients, mainly nitrogen, which chokes water bodies with harmful algae, depletes oxygen for fish and shellfish populations, and reduces swimming, fishing and boating opportunities throughout 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 23 percent. The primary "locally controllable" sources of nitrogen are wastewater from septic systems and agricultural activities. Most of the reductions will be from better treatment and handling of wastewater and from better management of stormwater and fertilizer. The TMDL analysis and watershed modeling will serve as a planning tool for communities to implement new comprehensive wastewater management strategies in order to improve estuarine water quality.    

A copy of this MassDEP Draft TMDL Report for Total Nitrogen and a further explanation of the TMDL Program are here.

The Massachusetts Estuaries Project Final Technical Report for the Tisbury Great Pond and Black Point Pond Estuarine System, on which the TMDL is based, is also available at the Chilmark and West Tisbury Town Halls.

The public comment period ends at 5 p.m., February 22, 2018. 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:


Media Contact

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 

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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