A wonderful opportunity for teamwork


To the Editor:

As a summer resident on Martha’s Vineyard for over 60 years, and a property owner on East Chop since 1972, I joined many of my neighbors to support the East Chop Association (ECA) board when it presented a remediation plan for Crystal Lake to the Oak Bluffs conservation commission on July 8. The lake is a beautiful feature on Vineyard Haven Harbor, with a long history as a commercial ice pond and recreation area. It is suffering from algae blooms, pond weed, uncontrolled encroachment by unwanted vegetation such as phragmites, and nitrogen runoff.

The ECA assembled a team of highly qualified technical experts to examine the lake and the surrounding shoreline. The work was done at considerable cost, reflecting the concern the community on East Chop has for this treasure. These professionals spent more than two years studying the geology and ecology of the environment in and around it. 

They offered their assessments and their remediation proposal. What I heard reinforced my conclusion that the Island of Martha’s Vineyard is in crisis, and calls for previously unneeded levels of effort for its care. There are signs everywhere (literally and figuratively).

My experience on this Island started as a young teenager. When I would share with winter classmates where I had spent the summer, no one had heard of Martha’s Vineyard. Now we have jets from at least four major airlines flying regular routes to the Island. It’s a world-class destination. The Island is severely stressed by summer visitors, and it is suffering from climate change as well. 

The response from the commission is pending. I write this only to suggest that this is a wonderful opportunity for collaboration between Oak Bluffs year-round residents and summer residents to tackle one piece of many environmental challenges on this Island, and for the town to leverage the time, money, and expertise made available to them in the petition from the ECA. What an example could be set for all Island communities.


Scott Slocum
Oak Bluffs