Edgartown wastewater authorities believe a plan to sewer hundreds of homes in the watershed of the Edgartown Great Pond can achieve the 30 per cent reduction in nitrogen pollution required to restore it to health.

A draft report of the Massachusetts Estuaries Project, obtained and published by the Gazette last week, finds the Great Pond’s water quality is significantly affected by heavy nitrogen loading. The biggest single contributor to the problem is household septic systems, the report found.

Restoring Great Salt Pond

The draft Massachusetts Estuaries Project report on the Edgartown Great Pond obtained by the Gazette last week is required reading for all who live on the Vineyard. The conclusions of the report may be obvious, but no less startling on an Island with a long history of strictly protecting its pristine environment, and they extend well beyond the sandy perimeters of the Edgartown Great Pond: encroaching development and nitrogen escaping from septic systems are polluting Island ponds.

Edgartown Great Pond

If the Edgartown Great Pond is to be restored to environmental health, town authorities must find a way to cut nitrogen pollution coming from household septic systems by at least 30 per cent, according to a comprehensive scientific study of the pond’s water quality.

The first of the long-awaited studies of the health of Vineyard
ponds by the Massachusetts Estuaries Project is set to be released
within weeks and will recommend significant changes to the management of
the Edgartown Great Pond.


Ensuring that Kennedy family members will remain stewards of their rare Aquinnah estate into the next generation, the Martha's Vineyard Commission last week approved a subdivision plan for the 366-acre property between Moshup Trail and Squibnocket Pond.

The 366-acre Aquinnah estate known as Red Gate Farm - and described by the state Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program as one of the most important tracts of land in the commonwealth - was the subject of a public hearing at the Martha's Vineyard Commission last week.

Property owners Caroline Kennedy and her husband Edwin Schlossberg have created a family subdivision for estate planning purposes. No building is planned at this time. The estate subdivision plan is under review by the commission as a development of regional impact (DRI).