The water quality of the pond is improving! The nearly 2 inches of rain in mid-September and the opening up of Trunk River helped flush out much of the algal bloom. The cooler and shorter days are also helping. The pond is losing its pea-green color.
Photo by Richard Hale
Many thanks again to Chuck Martinsen, Falmouth’s Herring Warden and Deputy Director of Marine and Environmental Services for all his work to help OPET improve the condition of the pond. Many thanks also to Dr. Brian Howes, Director of the Coastal Systems Group at UMass Dartmouth and author of the Mass Estuaries Project Report on Oyster Pond. Chuck and Brian met to review the condition of the pond and agreed that Trunk River needed additional work to allow the pond to flow more freely to break up the algal bloom. They directed the Falmouth DPW to remove an additional 16 cubic yards of material from the river. This is in addition to the 8 cubic yards already removed in August
The dredging substantially increased the outflow of water from the pond from 736 m3/day to 2,600 m3/day. Water clarity is also improving as the density of the algae dissipates. On August 24th a sample had 1,768 cells of algae per .1m of water, by October 3rd it had fallen to only six cells per .1m. This means we can now see down several feet into the water, while during the densest part of the bloom, nothing could be seen below 7 inches
Our regular water sampling during the bloom showed that the levels of nitrogen in the upper cove were double what they need to be to restore the pond back to healthy conditions. This again demonstrates that not only do we need to continue to monitor the flushing and outflow of the pond, but also in the long term limit the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus entering the pond from septic systems.