Natural Resources and Water Quality
Water Quality Impacts
- Important to know areas where there could be breeches in the harbor.
- Are cars impacting breeches?
- Fertilizers are still contaminating the harbor.
- Large increase in pools on the island; the pools are heading into our freshwater.
- Wastewater, septic systems, runoff, and direct boat use in the harbor is impacting water quality.
- How many more boats are there from 15 years ago? Need a study.
- Additional homes exacerbate all water quality issues.
- Pesticide roundup; may not be able to stop the sale of roundup; want to eliminate it from the island.
- The water quality has gone down in the harbor almost every year since the 1980s.
- Recreational boating wastewater could be contributing to water quality problems.
- Painters are disposing their toxic materials in the drains; the Town doesn’t want a building where they can put their toxic waste; there are only six toxic waste disposals a year; need a biohazard site.
- There are a lot of non-compliant septic systems; they need to get them fixed or pay a fine.
- Could it be helpful to flush the harbor occasionally (open it up); should we do a circulation study on this?
- Anywhere without a lot of tidal flushing (or pockets) has significantly more pollution (Polpis Harbor); sand has been restricting flushing at the top of the harbor.
- Stores are still selling products with phosphorus.
- At the top of the harbor, in 2009 there was a small amount of eelgrass, spider crabs, fish, etc.; now there is no eelgrass left, no spider crabs, only algae.
- Spartina (salt marshes) have been depleting; we will have storms where sand covers the salt marsh and kills them (spartina is under the dune).
- Where is the salt marsh going to retreat to; Nantucket Foundation just started looking more into salt marsh retreating and finding ways for the marsh to migrate back.
- Water temperature in the harbor is warming, which is harming the eelgrass.
- Should we rest some of the areas from fishing for the eelgrass; and don’t allow some people to anchor in some areas for the eelgrass.
- We should plant more native species.
Regulations and Enforcement
- We have a better understanding of what we need to do, but we need more vigor to get it done, and we need to pay for it.
- Need clear next steps.
- We need to provide enough funding for the town to enforce water quality regulations, including fertilizer use.
- Need to make action items measurable.
- New regulations should be considered; it is not allowed to dump grey water into the harbor.
- Need to prioritize issues and action items.
- Need an urgency to move some of the items forward.
- How do we improve enforcement; need more funding; could we charge an extra surtax for visitors rather than have the local people pay more for taxes [Hyline is already charging an extra 50 cents that goes to the Town, where does that money go to]; State of Hawaii has a visitor impact fee; look into that.
- The permitting you must go through at the state level is prohibitive; is there a way to shorten that and have stricter regulations.
- There should be a person who is in charge of implementing the fertilizer regulations; there need to be consequences and it has not been prioritized.
- We should microdose fertilizer.
- Need more data on total nitrate at various depths in the harbor.
- There is a town website with all the water quality data; we should expand some of the monitoring occurring.
- The sediment transport study within the harbor will be useful; looking at a couple points on the eastern side and Coatue to figure out how the harbor is circulating; may help make smarter decisions about dredging and resiliency.
- During COVID, what was the difference with boats in the harbor.
- Could be good to have some additional water quality sampling (some areas closer to shore; right now a lot of the spots are deeper).
- Green slime around the harbor, and is concentrated in front of certain properties.
- The Land Bank has been putting lifoseed (?) into the harbor to eliminate phragmites.
- Need more media coverage and more education of people (including the transient workforce).
- Chapter 91 license and oil absorbing pillow (?).
- There have been erosion control projects at Pocomo; is that resulting in excessive sand being dumped into the harbor, and reducing circulation?
- Madaket Harbor has better water quality than Nantucket Harbor; there is more flushing; but Hither Creek has always been an issue (there have been some wastewater inputs); Tuckernuck also has better water quality.
- Can we do some education on 97.7?
Can you have shellfish beds that will improve water quality? We should identify some areas and hang sacrificial oysters at the boat basin.