Cape Environmental Groups Collaborate to Preserve Watersheds

SOUTH YARMOUTH – Over a dozen local environmental groups concerned with the health of Cape Cod watersheds met on Friday to discuss forming a consortium.

The Friends of Bass River hosted an initial consortium at the Hearth n’ Kettle restaurant in Yarmouth. Over breakfast, the group discussed the most effective measures of preserving the watersheds and depleting nitrogen pollution.

Executive Director of Friends of Bass River Brian Weiner led the discussion. He expressed the need for cooperation between the 13 nonprofits to reach the ultimate goal of improving the environmental health of the Cape’s watersheds.

“I came to Friends of Bass River after retiring from my own companies, where I kind of had the opportunity to drive my own bus. I’ve been at this for a year now and I’ve reached the business man’s mindset that says ‘I can’t move at the pace of a small not-for-profit.’ And to see 13 other fabulous organizations that are involved in similar pursuits that aren’t working with me makes me crazy,” said Weiner.

“My goal was to bring everyone together and initiate a conversation, and I think it’s been very successful. We’ve all agreed to advance this discussion and that’s healthy.”

Weiner says that in the Bass River alone, 83-percent of pollution issues come from just two sources.

“Seventy-five percent is nitrogen that is derived directly from septic systems, eight percent comes from people who are vigorously over-fertilizing their lawns. The cumulative effect is that it’s killing our rivers. Everyone has the same issue, no matter where they are, it’s nitrogen pollution,” Weiner explained

The consortium included the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Buzzards Bay Coalition, Center for Coastal Studies, Friends of Chatham Waterways, Pleasant Bay Alliance, Friends of Barnstable Harbor, Friends of Herring River, Falmouth Water Stewards, Citizens for the Protection of Waquoit Bay, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and Save Popponessett Bay.

“We all have limited resources and I felt that if we want to be worthy custodians of the trust that our donors have placed in us, we have to find new ways of making our dollars reach further. Coalitions like this make sense.”

By TIM DUNN, News Center 
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