Lake Tashmoo, which has attracted visiting boaters in the summer season for decades, may not be so welcoming this year. 

Worried about environmental damage, Tisbury officials are considering a potential moratorium on anchoring in the popular estuary. The select board will dive into the issue at a public hearing March 8.

“The intent [is] to allow other committees, boards and other interested bodies to weigh on the concept of restricting or imposing a moratorium on anchors in Lake Tashmoo,” town administrator John (Jay) Grande said at Wednesday’s select board meeting.

“I know there are strong opinions on both sides of that discussion,” said Mr. Grande, who told the board he has been collaborating with the town shellfish constable and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to develop a watershed management plan for Lake Tashmoo. 

Stormwater, wastewater and activities on the pond are all being considered in the watershed plan, he said.

A draft of the management plan is almost ready for select board review, but Mr. Grande would like to see anchoring suspended until an environmental study is completed and the plan is put in place.

“Until we absolutely know, we should not be risking the health of that pond any further,” he said. 

Tisbury oyster farmer Jeffrey Canha wanted the board to go a step further. He pushed for a complete anchoring ban in all Tisbury waterways, except in areas specifically designated by the town.

“There’s a lot of nefarious activity with anchoring in [Lagoon Pond],” Mr. Canha said. “With a broad brush stroke you can take care of a lot of this.”

Longtime Tisbury boater Lynne Fraker opposed an anchoring ban, saying she thinks it isn’t needed.

“I love Tashmoo and people want to enjoy Tashmoo and should be able to enjoy Tashmoo,” she said.

Mr. Grande said the draft watershed management plan for Lake Tashmoo will be ready for select board review later in March.

The town also needs a new pump-out boat for Tashmoo, Mr. Grande told the board. Pump-out boats remove sewage from vessels’ waste tanks and dispose of it in the town’s wastewater system.

He learned last week that the existing pump-out boat is past its useful life and can’t be guaranteed not to fail, posing an unacceptable risk to the waterway. The lead time needed to buy a new pump-out boat is six to eight months, he said, so the replacement vessel won’t arrive until after the summer season.

Mr. Grande is now looking for alternative plans for how the town could deal with wastewater pump-out service in Lake Tashmoo, including potentially bringing in the Vineyard Haven harbor pump-out vessel and making other arrangements for pump-outs in the harbor.