The culmination of a cooperative effort by The Brewster Ponds Coalition and the Town of Brewster Conservation Commission, with assistance from the Barnstable County Americorps Cape Cod Program, came to fruition this week, with the publication of a Pond Waterfront Improvement Guide. (PWIG.)
Many homeowners have asked how they can protect and improve their pond's water quality. The PWIG provides citizens with a how-to guide for designing and building storm water remediation projects - rain gardens and bio-swales, in their pond neighborhoods and yards. It will serve as a model for other Cape Cod towns and is now available on the Brewster Ponds Coalition Website (PDF file link here) (Word format here provides enhanced functionality of embedded files) and at the county website.
“Property owners are sometimes intimidated by the process of going before a Conservation Commission,” said Gwen Pelletier, BPC Board Clerk in a presentation before the Brewster Conservation Commission on July 12th. “Our goal is to make the process easier to understand, so that people will know how to go forward with projects that improve pond water quality and protect ponds from further impairment.” (Click here to watch video of discussion before Conservation Commission, July 12, 2016. Starts at 9 minute mark.)
“The Brewster Ponds Coalition has surveyed storm water run off problem areas in Brewster both from above and on the ground,” said John Keith, Vice President of the BPC. “We have found an inventory of roughly thirty-five medium to high priority locations that impact ponds. As we go forward, we will work with pond and neighborhood groups as well as the town to bring forward cost-effective solutions,” he said.
“Storm water run off carries with it significant amounts of pollution that wind up in our ponds, estuaries and bays,” said Jan McGann, a key member of the BPC Science Team that created the PWIG. “Much of it is preventable. And, getting these beneficial projects underway is easier than it might at first seem,” she said.
"It was a pleasure to help create the Pond Waterfront Improvement Guide. It was a great team effort, drawing on the backgrounds of Gwen in Education and Communication, Jan in Biology, and John in Engineering. We worked well together in collaboration with Noelle Bramer, the Brewster Conservation Agent, and ended up with a solid document that empowers citizens to take action to improve water quality in ponds," said AmeriCorps volunteer, Ben Howard, who researched the Conservation Commission approval process and drafted the guide.
“This is a really big deal,” said Tom Vautin, BPC President. “Because citizens, when faced with the notion that they will have to go before the Conservation Commission in any town, often just walk away. Now, projects will seem less daunting and that will lead to more work getting done,” he said.