Local groups awarded $16,109 to collect watershed data

James Pond in West Tisbury is one of the many watersheds on the Island. — MV Times

The Buzzards Bay Coalition, in partnership with the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and Tisbury Waterways Inc., received a $16,109 partial grant to “continue existing monitoring activities and to build new capacity to collect high-resolution water quality data” in Buzzards Bay and the watersheds of the Cape and Islands, according to a press release. These efforts will include purchasing equipment and supplies for long-term monitoring, training volunteers, performing laboratory analysis, and managing data. The press release said this award was a part of the $150,000 in Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program funding, which is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), as a part of the Baker-Polito administration’s Earth Week celebration. 

Other organizations and their partners, such as the Ipswich River Watershed Association, were also awarded funding to monitor bodies of water in Eastern Massachusetts and the Berkshires, according to the release. The water quality data “will help MassDEP to implement program requirements under the federal Clean Water Act.” 

Massachusetts watersheds must be assessed every two years, according to the release. MassDEP’s Watershed Planning Program can “sample only a fraction” of the 3,000 lakes and ponds, 12,000 miles of streams and rivers, and nearly 3,000 square miles of coastal waters the state has within one year. Information collected by “key stakeholders” supplement MassDEP’s data used to assess whether surface water quality of water bodies meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act, according to the release.