Conservation moorings approved for Lake Tashmoo

Tisbury considers ways to manage the body of water. 

Tisbury will implement some mooring at Lake Tashmoo. — Eunki Seonwoo

Tisbury is prepping how to manage Lake Tashmoo as the summer season approaches. 

On Wednesday, May 24, the Tisbury Select Board unanimously approved a total of twelve moorings to be placed in Lake Tashmoo to be used on a reservation basis. Up to six moorings will be at Drew’s Cove for overnight use while up to six moorings will be at the Northern Pines area for daytime use. 

This was a part of the town’s effort to manage Lake Tashmoo. The board implemented a controversial anchoring moratorium in March to address quality of life and environmental issues, such as the protection of the ecologically important eelgrass. 

“I think, with your guided approval, we can install the moorings,” Tisbury Waterways Committee chair Matt Hobart said. “That area we plan to install them, it doesn’t particularly have a lot of eelgrass anyhow.” 

Tisbury harbormaster John Crocker said the number of moorings placed will depend on the costs, although he expects at least four is doable. He recommended using conservation moorings called “helix anchors” in the Northern Pines area because of the eelgrass at the location. Crocker also suggested using “traditional lock and chain moorings” at the south end of Drew’s Cove, a muddy area without eelgrass. 

“I think for these moorings in particular we probably need to use a reservation system because I can foresee 60 boats coming in there looking for a mooring and if we have a reservation system — and we would certainly need to get that information to the harbormasters on the Cape — it would, hopefully, negate a bunch of that,” he said. 

The board also made other considerations for Lake Tashmoo. One was a possible exemption for some people from the anchoring moratorium, such as Tisbury residents or commercial barges. 

Crocker said he discussed the possibility of exempting town residents from the moratorium with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, but was told “discrimination based on residency” was not allowed under state law. 

As for commercial barges, Hobart encouraged exempting them from the moratorium.

“We need a place for our commercial people to go that’s safe,” Hobart said, adding that the larger barges have trouble staying at Lagoon Pond because they are not able to easily get past the drawbridge, which opens only a few times a day, 

Tisbury town administrator suggested a motion to allow all approved barges to find “alternative methods” of securing vessels, which would be determined by the harbormaster, rather than a full exemption from the moratorium. The board unanimously approved this motion. 


After the vote, board member John Cahill asked whether a designated area near the shore could be used for limited anchoring for vessels of a “certain size,” such as 20 feet or smaller. Cahill said this could be a way to let people enjoy Tashmoo, whether it be on the beach or on a smaller vessel like a kayak or skiff. 


Hobart pointed out this idea could be beneficial for those who want to “actively shellfish” near the shoreline. However, Hobart said details about monitoring and enforcement would need to be considered. 


No vote was taken on this inquiry, but Cahill and Hobart expressed their desire to discuss the idea in further detail.


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