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Cape Cod Regional Pond Monitoring inaugural season complete

The first season of the Cape Cod Regional Pond Monitoring Program has come to a close, with final samples collected from the region’s ponds in early November.

As part of the Freshwater Initiative, the Commission contracted with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) at the beginning of the year to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to expanding and enhancing efforts to monitor ponds on Cape Cod. Expanded monitoring will ensure consistent and consecutive data collection to inform pond management and improvement strategies.  

The program began on April 4, 2023 at Scargo Lake in Dennis. Between April and November, staff and volunteer monitors made 648 trips to selected ponds on Cape Cod.

Monitoring occurred in fifty ponds spatially distributed across all 15 Cape Cod towns, chosen by the team and a group of advisors who analyzed pond characteristics, including size, depth, land cover and surrounding development, and water quality to determine a group of ponds representative of the region’s nearly 900 freshwater bodies. Thirty-eight of the fifty ponds have delineated watersheds, thirty-two have associated biological data, thirteen are home to herring runs, six have undergone rehabilitation projects, and eleven have surface water connections.

Four days a week, every week, from April through early November, two teams comprised of a staff member and a volunteer conducted monitoring, collecting data on dissolved oxygen, temperature, alkalinity, dissolved nutrients, and more. Each team collected samples from two ponds each day – four in total. Each day, a team member brought samples to the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown for processing and analysis. In total, the team brought 3,113 sample bottles to the Center for Coastal Studies.

Six hundred forty-eight pond visits took place, with volunteers spending over 3,500 hours monitoring ponds.

The program complements existing monitoring efforts and provides baseline data regarding how different types of ponds on Cape Cod respond to changing regional environmental conditions throughout the monitoring season and from year to year.

Monitoring efforts will resume in April 2024.

This July, we visited Herring Pond in Eastham to talk with APCC Freshwater Science Coordinator Sofia Feuerhake. Watch the video:

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