Taking aim at Tashmoo geese

Tisbury select board to allow hunting on town property.


The Tisbury select board has authorized town administrator Jay Grande to work out a plan to allow goose hunting on town-owned land at Lake Tashmoo.

Grande will work with Nelson Sigelman, a hunting proponent who also works for the town as an assistant shellfish constable, and Police Chief Mark Saloio to come up with a streamlined process to allow hunting on the property.

Sigelman said nonmigratory geese are fouling Tashmoo. “It’s a way to address what is a significant problem in that small freshwater body, and it’s only going to get worse,” he said. “These are geese that live there year-round — they’re not going anywhere. They deposit a pound and a half of fecal matter every day in that pond.”

Edgartown allows hunting on Katama Farm with a spur-of-the-moment phone call during the early season, Sigelman said.

Though Jim Rogers, chair of the select board, said he would like to see more of a process for accountability, selectman Jeff Kristal said the board shouldn’t overthink it. “This is a no-brainer to me. It’s going to help the ponds,” Kristal said, noting that the board had just talked about forming a working group to consider a comprehensive wastewater management plan. “Let’s get rid of some of these geese. Let Jay come up with a plan and facilitate this, sooner rather than later.”

Complicating matters is that Tisbury Water Works, the town-owned land located at 325 West Spring St., where hunting would be permitted, is surrounded by privately owned properties.

Selectman Larry Gomez said he hoped the town would announce that hunting is going on at the site to reduce the number of calls to police and the county communications center.


Speed limits, SUP, solar, and Schilling

Saloio updated the select board on the possibility of lowering the speed limit on Skiff Avenue, responding to a request from the street’s residents. The chief said he and DPW director Kirk Metell will be meeting with an engineer to document the road as a “safety zone” for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

Metell said the engineer believes the road can be designated a safety zone because of the combination of street parking, blind driveways, sharp curves, and a bike route.

“If we post it 20, they’ll only go 30,” Rogers said, noting that the new limit would give police a way to enforce it.

Kristal said it’s important for the town to do what it can to slow traffic in the area, because there will be more people using Skiff as a way to get around work on Beach Road on the shared-use path. That project is expected to last into 2023.

“When we do get this accomplished, I certainly want to make sure it’s on our website, and everyone knows that we do respond to citizen concerns and we are responding to this,” Rogers said.

Speaking of Beach Road, the board will discuss that project at its Sept. 29 meeting. All three board members support a symmetrical rather than a designated shared-use path, but MassDOT rejected the town’s last overture about scrapping the SUP.

Rogers said he’d like the board to discuss changes in the plan, which previously had the SUP connecting to a bike trail through a private property; that plan never materialized. “Now we’re going to go down the road and clear the shared-use path to nowhere,” he said, saying he’d like to approach the state about this change. “I don’t know how much luck we’d have, because they’ve kind of told us too bad.”

Construction on the SUP was supposed to begin Sept. 8, though the only evidence of the pending project is survey stakes, and signs at some local properties bemoaning what will be lost to the expanded roadway.

Liz Argo, executive director of the Cape & Islands Electric Cooperative (CVEC) made her annual visit to Tisbury (this time remotely) to update on the town’s solar array performance at the capped landfill.

The project is entering its fifth year, and continues to outperform expectations, Argo said. The project brought in $84,424 last year, which is down from previous years, but she explained that’s because electricity prices have decreased.

On the other hand, the solar array continues to outperform the guarantee made by the contractor that it would produce 975,000 kilowatt-hours; instead it produced more than 1.4 million. Had it underperformed, the contractor would have to make up the difference to the town, she said. Instead, the town got the benefit of selling some of the electricity through net metering to Dukes County and Provincetown, she said.

Argo said CVEC is looking at the possibility of battery storage on the Island to help with sustainability. 

In other business, the select board also agreed to hold a public hearing to approve waterways regulations that would allow five float moorings to be set aside for licensed commercial fishermen in Lake Tashmoo. 

Earlier in the meeting, the board approved appointing retired Fire Chief John Schilling as the town’s municipal hearing officer. Schilling made news last week as the town of Oak Bluffs hired him as a consultant on the reshaping of that town’s fire department.

“Pretty soon he’ll have a job in all six towns,” Gomez quipped.