Army Corps to search for munitions at Tisbury Great Pond

The Army Corps will undertake a five-year ordnance-removal project.

The West Tisbury board of selectmen have granted the Army Corps right of entry to search for munitions in Tisbury Great Pond.

Selectmen gave the Army Corps of Engineers the right to enter two parcels that it owns near Tisbury Great Pond for a five-year period to search for unexploded munitions, possible holdovers from training on the Island during World War II. The permission was granted during the board of selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday, April 5.

According to a document provided by the town, the Army Corps will survey, locate, and remove unexploded ordnance at the site. “The survey and collection of munitions and UXO most likely would be conducted on the upland areas, beach, dunes, shoreline areas on both land and in the water, as well as the inland water ponds of Tisbury Great Pond and Long Cove Pond, and the ocean areas up to 600 feet offshore,” the document states.

In recent years, the Army Corps has done similar cleanups on the Island, targeting what are called Formerly Used Defense Sites, according to Times archives. Martha’s Vineyard Airport was a Naval Air Station during World War II.

The Army Corps needed permission from the town to access the site to be investigated.

“What they are asking for is entry into the piece of property that The Trustees of Reservations own, and the town of West Tisbury has two very small lots stuck in the middle of those, and they are doing an ordnance-removal project and need permission from the town of West Tisbury to access those two smaller parcels within the Trustees’ larger parcels to scan for ordnance,” town administrator Jennifer Rand said.

It is slated to be a five-year project.

“Why wouldn’t we?” selectman Cynthia Mitchell said.

Selectmen also granted town treasurer Kathy Logue permission to “reconstitute” the formally organized town health insurance committee. “There’s no legal requirement, but I’d feel more comfortable if we had one,” Ms. Logue said. Ms. Logue would like to call it the Insurance Advisory Committee, and it will have seven members.

In other business, there will be a town picnic June 10 from 12 pm to 4 pm at the Ag Hall. Debbie Magnuson, the party planner and a town resident, said that the picnic will be “simple and old-fashioned,” and is open to any Islanders, not just those from West Tisbury. No “four-legged friends” (service dogs OK), and alcohol is discouraged. Selectmen approved a $1,500 expenditure for the event.