top of page

March Pond Update

Dear Chilmark Pond Community:

I write to update you on the status of the Chilmark Pond Foundation’s efforts, particularly around our plans to dredge the pond to improve healthy flushes and circulation in the pond. We were prepared to start dredging the last week of February. However, after many years and multiple layers of government review, the US Army Corps of Engineers,

working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service among other agencies, just informed us that our plan to deposit dredged sand onto the barrier beach requires additional information and/or alternative disposal plans.

The northeastern tiger beetle and its larvae have been observed in the area where we planned to deposit the dredged sand. The beetle is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act and the regulators are concerned that putting the dredged sand on the beach could harm them. We did not know these beetles were present or that they would pose a problem when we designed the dredge project back in 2019.

We have already developed some alternatives that should address their concerns. However, we have run out of time to get them approved this year because the work must be completed by April 1st when protected shorebird nesting season begins. Changing the disposal plan also will likely require amendments to the Order of Conditions from the

Chilmark Conservation Commission as well as to the Section 401 Water Quality Certificate from Mass Department of Environmental Protection that we already obtained. We are hopeful that we can get all that work done in time to dredge in February/March of 2025.

In the meantime, our collaboration with the Great Pond Foundation continues to thrive. Though this partnership, we support the MV CYANO® program, regularly collect samples and analyze conditions in the pond, and work with the Marine Biological Lab to identify the sources of nitrogen pollution. As you know, this work will help us design effective, science-based projects to improve the pond’s ecology. Please read our latest Ecosystem Monitoring Report on our website.

This season, we will expand our monitoring work by deploying continuous loggers in Upper and Middle Ponds so that all three regions of Chilmark Pond are monitored daily. Beginning in March, we will measure the concentration of groundwater nitrogen around Upper and Middle Ponds to help determine its sources (wastewater, fertilizer, etc.) through isotopic analysis. We will also measure nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in Upper, Middle, and Lower Chilmark Pond. These studies will be done in collaboration with the Marine Biological Laboratory and Great Pond Foundation.

While we are disappointed about the dredge permit, we are determined to move forward and are looking into several other projects that we might launch this summer.

Thank you for your support.

The CPF Board

Allan Holt, Ellen Jewett, Tom Milch, Doug Sacks and Amy Salzman (ex officio)

1 Comment

Brenda Warshaw
Brenda Warshaw
Mar 07

I wonder what happened to the beetles after the big storm. The entire barrier beach was pummeled for hours. Did the beetles survive!

bottom of page