Two Towns Train Their Attention On Troubles at Sengekontacket

In a 1952 aerial photograph of Sengekontacket Pond that hangs behind the door to Augustus Ben David’s World of Reptiles And Birds in Edgartown, you can count two properties — the one you’re standing in and the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. Today Mr. Ben David estimates that the homes clustered along the shoreline number in the thousands.

Kayakers Get an Intimate View Of Sengekontacket Pond’s Beauty

Leading a tour of the Sengekontacket, Felix Neck guide Emily Smith rounded Sarsons Island Friday in her red kayak and stopped. Something in the pond had caught her eye. She backtracked, peered into the water for a few moments and then pulled out a horseshoe crab. The kayakers on the tour crowded around for a look, bumping their boats together as they packed in. She flipped the crab over to show its small legs squirming in the air and began spelling out facts about the creature.

Dredging at Little Bridge

The Oak Bluffs conservation commission this week received a waiver from the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act that is expected to fast-track plans to dredge Sengekontacket Pond. The dredge project is intended to improve tidal circulation and reduce bacteria levels.

Bacteria counts recorded in 2007 by the Division of Marine Fisheries during an annual spot check showed high levels of coliform bacteria, automatically triggering a three-year closure for shellfishing from June though September. This is the third year for the closure.

Great Ponds, Great Places

“Oh, The Places You Will Go!”

Dr. Seuss was prophetic (and likely his words and works always will be). I have been lucky to have been able to go to many wild and wonderful places both near andfar. The places that inspire me most are always close to water.

Study Traces Sengekontacket’s Troubles

A draft report of the long-awaited Massachusetts Estuaries Project study of Sengekontacket Pond sketches a profile of a coastal pond that is at once troubling and hopeful.

Although the vast pond that spans the towns of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown has undergone significant ecological changes with increased development in the past half century, including a drastic decline in eelgrass beds, specific steps could be taken that would restore the pond to nearly its original state, the report finds.

Shell May Be Half-Empty But Opening Day Ritual Full Hearted

Oak Bluffs recreational shellfishermen were out Saturday morning at Sengekontacket Pond, a happy day, because it was opening weekend for family scalloping. And while there were not a lot of scallops to find, for most it was reason enough to get out on the water in the bright autumn sunshine.

Project to Dredge in Sengekontacket Sees Costs Increase


Last April Oak Bluffs voters approved borrowing $500,000 to pay for a dredging project in Sengekontacket Pond, but this week town administrator Michael Dutton said the town is having difficulty keeping the long-stalled project under budget.

“We’re working with Edgartown because it’s a joint effort on a joint pond,” he said at Tuesday’s Oak Bluffs selectmen’s meeting. “But when you break the numbers down it’s possible we are paying a slight premium to do so.”

Hottest Commodity for Sale? Try Sand from Sengekontacket

It fills your shoes, ruins the kitchen floor in the summer and gets in your food at picnics.

But whoever thought of sand as a commodity?

On the Vineyard sand is emerging as exactly that, right up there with gold futures and pork bellies, as towns and private groups compete to get their hands on the stuff to use as ammunition in their ongoing battle against erosion.

The value of sand has skyrocketed, and given all the predictions that global warming will cause a rise in sea levels, it’s unlikely to come down anytime soon.

Big Dig at Edgartown Beach Near Complete

Dredging is nearly complete at the Joseph Sylvia State Beach. For much of the fall, the Edgartown dredge has been pumping sand out of Sengekontacket, deepening a channel on the Oak Bluffs side, with the spoils trucked to Cow Bay for beach nourishment.

Norman Rankow, chairman of the dredge committee, said last week that the work in the area is winding down. The dredge will be removed from the pond probably by mid-January.

Sengekontacket Reopens For Summer Shellfishing

For the first time in five years, parts of Sengekontacket Pond will be open for shellfishing, at least through June. In July, August and Sepetmber the current plan calls for possible closures following periods of heavy rainfall, but otherwise the same parts of the pond now designated as safe for shellfishing will be kept open.