Commission To Coordinate
Long Pond Management Effort

by William F. Galvin

HARWICH --- The cost of a comprehensive Long Pond management plan will be in the range of $100,000, Cape Cod Commission staff told selectmen on Monday evening. That financial burden would be shared with the towns of Harwich and Brewster, the commission and the commonwealth.

Commission executive director Margo Fenn met with selectmen to discuss the formation of an advisory group to work with consultants, placing an article in the next Town Meeting to fund the town's share of the effort and to get a letter of support from the board to seek state monies. Fenn estimated Harwich's share of the cost of this plan to be $10,000.

The pond has been experiencing water quality problems over the past few years, Fenn explained, citing a report conducted by the commission's water quality staff showing high phosphorus levels and oxygen depletion in the lower depths of that 740-acre lake. Those conditions have led to numerous fish kills in recent years.

"In the bottom 30 feet of water there was no oxygen last week," explained Eduard Eichner, a water quality scientist with the commission. Fish can't live in it and neither can the animals in the sediment."

The plan, according to Fenn, is to study the phosphorus problems in the pond and recommend a full management plan, including steps to limit its presence.

A scope of work prepared by the commission states the pond is experiencing low oxygen conditions in its bottom waters during summer stratification due to bacterial respiration during the decomposition of organic sediment materials. Limited oxygen is a habitat impairment for bullheads, trout, and other creatures which live in the colder bottom waters and is the likely cause of numerous fish kills.

The scope of work also states low oxygen conditions also cause the release of phosphorus from the sediments. Phosphorus loads from land uses surrounding Long Pond are approximately half of the load regenerated from the sediments.

Commission staff stressed in-lake reduction of phosphorus will improve water quality in the short term, but reductions coming from the 250-foot buffer strip around the pond are necessary to sustain good water quality in the long term.

Fenn explained she had just left a meeting with the Brewster selectmen in which they agreed to support this project by appointing members to the advisory committee, placing an article in an upcoming town meeting warrant to fund its share of the cost of establishing the management plan and to write a letter to the state supporting grants for this effort.

"To do the full scope of work, we'll need outside funding," explained Fenn, "but, if not, we can do it piecemeal. I'm confident we can get $20,000 to $25,000 from the state."