The Towns of Harwich, Brewster, Chatham and Orleans are one step closer to a Watershed Permit for Pleasant Bay. The Cape Cod Commission deemed the Pleasant Bay Targeted Watershed Management Plan (TWMP) consistent with the Cape Cod Area Wide Water Quality Management Plan Update (208 Plan), issuing a letter to the four member communities and the Pleasant Bay Alliance on June 21. The plan development was coordinated by the Pleasant Bay Alliance and identifies nitrogen contributions by town and a schedule and adaptive management plan for reducing nitrogen to the Bay.
Pleasant Bay is a state designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern and is identified as one of eleven priority watersheds in the 2017 208 Plan Implementation Report. It is critical that action be taken immediately. The towns worked together to determine the intended outcome of the four individual nitrogen reduction plans and to identify and pursue cost saving opportunities such as in monitoring, modeling and certain aspects of implementation.
The TWMP is an outcome of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection inviting the towns to participate in a Watershed Permit pilot project. A Watershed Permit allows multiple towns to work towards water quality improvement while also allowing for greater flexibility to achieve nitrogen reduction, the use of non-traditional nitrogen management strategies, and priority for State Revolving fund financing for both traditional and non-traditional technologies.
With this consistency determination, the Pleasant Bay communities are eligible to request a Watershed Permit. Once granted, and as a condition of continued consistency with the 208 Plan, the communities will work to implement the TWMP in coordination with MassDEP and the Commission.