Nessie is not a sea monster but a portable cutterhead dredge, acquired by the Great Pond Foundation to increase the effectiveness of the Edgartown Great Pond’s openings to the sea, which are essential in improving the water quality and health of the pond.



Edgartown will consider making it mandatory for hundreds of residents in the watershed of the Edgartown Great Pond to hook up to a new town sewer line, following recommendations of a study into pollution of the pond.

The final report of the Massachusetts Estuaries Project (MEP), released this week, finds that most of the 890-acre pond is moderately or significantly impaired by high levels of nitrogen, which poses a threat to eelgrass, shellfish and fish.

Tracing the Problem

The algal bloom in Edgartown Great Pond has prompted much well-justified discussion and concern.The following is intended to provide a little additional detail on prospective solutions to improve the health of the pond.

Following the resolution of a year-long contractual standoff between the University of Massachusetts and the state Department of Environmental Protection, a number of long-delayed reports on the health of the Vineyard’s ponds are again on track for completion.

The long dispute over who owned data used for computer modeling of water quality in bays and estuaries drastically slowed work on the federally-mandated effort to assess and then reduce pollution problems.

A continuing contractual dispute between the state Department of Environmental Protection and the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth is delaying efforts to clean coastal waters all over the Cape and Islands, and must be solved quickly, state Sen. Robert O’Leary said yesterday.

The 11-month standoff has left towns without important data, compiled under the Massachusetts Estuaries Project, documenting the health and particularly the nutrient loading of their estuaries, bays and ponds. The information is needed for remediation and planning.


State auditor Joseph DeNucci delivered a hard blow to the Massachusetts Estuaries project this week, releasing a highly critical audit report on the multi-million dollar project managed by the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth to study the health of ponds and estuaries on the Cape and Islands.

The Massachusetts auditor’s report found undocumented contract costs, no-bid contracts and a potential conflict of interest in the project, a sophisticated scientific study begun in 2001 of more than 60 ponds and estuaries from Duxbury to the Cape and Islands.