The ponds of Brewster, MA, provide an important habitat for aquatic life and are a great natural resource for our community. Yet, the scenic beauty and recreational benefits often mask the problems growing beneath the surface.
Only five of Brewster’s Ponds are now considered to be of high quality when compared to Cape Cod Commission pond guidelines.
A vast majority of Brewster’s ponds suffer some level of impairment including lack of clarity, nutrient loading and low dissolved oxygen which limits survival in the aquatic habitat.
Cape Cod’s Ponds serve as a looking glass into the future of our drinking water and Cape Cod’s aquifer provides 100% of our drinking water.
Recharged entirely by precipitation, the groundwater is extremely susceptible to contamination from various land uses and activities. Brewster and most of Cape Cod’s drinking water quality is generally very good.
But, over the past fifteen years, there has been a trend toward some degradation. Nitrate levels in public drinking water supplies are rising. The correlation between human development and aquifer degradation is evident.
According to the Brewster Freshwater Ponds Final Report, a review of total nitrogen to total phosphorus ratios shows that all Brewster ponds are “phosphorus limited,” which means that management of phosphorus will be THE KEY for determining water quality in these ponds. It also means that reductions in phosphorus will have to be a part of any remediation plans.
Interested in local efforts to save Cape Cod’s Ponds, contact The Brewster Ponds Coalition. Together we can keep Brewster’s ponds healthy, safe and beautiful.
Since 1928, Nobska Light has provided a familiar beacon for ‘all who do go down to the sea in ships’. 87 feet above sea level, Nobska’s flash every six seconds is visible 17 miles out to sea. This 28,000 candlepower light used a 1000-watt lamp magnified by a Fourth Order Fresnel lens. the red section visible on the east side of the lantern house warns ships away from Hedge Fence and L’Hommedieu Shoals south of the Cape.
The present tower is 42 feet high and was constructed in 1876. It was built to replace the original “Nobsque” light, a stone cottage with a light tower on top which had stood since 1828. The present tower is made of a cast iron shell lined with brick. It was built in Chelsea, Massachusetts and transported to Cape Cod in four sections.
The front half of the current “keepers house” was also built in 1876. Originally painted dark maroon-brown, it had a covered walkway to the tower attached in 1899 and a second “assistant keepers house” added in 1907. Over the years, windows, doors, porches and walkways have come and gone and the color has been changed to the classic Coast Guard white with red roof.
Nobska Light became part of the Coast Guard in 1939, when the U.S. Light House Service merged with the Coast guard. Despite this change, the keepers of the light remained civilians until Mr. Hindley retired in 1973 when active duty Coast Guard keepers took up the duty.
In 1985, Nobska Light was automated. The two keepers houses were joined and became the quarters for Commander Coast Guard Group Woods Hole and his family. The Woods Hole Group serves the mainland and islands from Plymouth, Massachusetts to the Rhode Island/Connecticut state line.
Highland Light is an active lighthouse on the Cape Cod National Seashore. Located in North Truro, it was erected in 1857. The current tower replaced two earlier towers and was the first lighthouse and fog signal on Cape Cod, established by edict from George Washington.
During the Summer of 1996 the lighthouse was painstakingly moved on rails back hundreds of yards to save it from falling into the sea as the shoreline had eroded significantly since it was first built. A stone platform sits where the lighthouse once was.
Known to mariners as Cape Cod Light, in 1865 the famous Cape Cod writer, Thoreau, wrote that it was one of the first lighthouses that travelers from Europe would see as they entered Massachusetts harbor. It was turned into a tourist attraction in 2014 and guided tours are available to the general public during Summer.
Town Neck Beach is a great spot in Sandwich.MA.Life to spend the day. A local and washashore’s favorite boardwalk to jump off of on a hot day and float out on the receeding high tide.
Many spend their day on the beach watching the boats pass through the Cape Cod Canal into the Bay or exploring the tidal pools. It was even voted as one of the Top 10 Boardwalks in the U.S.A. by National Geographic in 2010.
It is 1,350 long and leads from Scorton Creek to the shoreline and was created in 1875 by Gustavus Howland. Damaged by seasonal storms, repair and upkeep has been partially funded by the sale of engraved personalized planks.
Did you get to see the Herring run this season? Also known as Alewives and Bluebacks, river Herring have been migrating from the ocean to fresh water ponds and streams in Springtime for centuries. Native people as well as European settlers depended on them as a food staple. Today it is illegal to harvest river Herring in the Paine’s Creek estuary and across Massachusetts.