Good News About the Bay

For more than 20 years, Cape Cod residents, scientists, and citizen organizations have been sounding the alarm about the decline of ourwaterways due to nitrogen pollution, among other contributors. It’s been a long slog for these committed neighbors and organizations. Residents and town officials have balked at the cost and inconvenience of mitigating nitrogen run off. But in 2020, all the education, lobbying, and activism has begun to bear fruit. Save Our Shoestring is new to the cause, but we’re thrilled to be involved with organizations like the Barnstable Clean Water Coalition, Mashpee Clean Waters, and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) whose actions are finally having consequences.

Good News Comes In Threes

CLF To Sue Barnstable & Willowbend Country Club – August 7, 2020
We’re particularly excited about this development. Willowbend Country Club sits on the Mashpee side of Shoestring Bay and Mashpee contributes @75% of the nitrogen pollutant contributing to the decline of the water quality within our Bay. Spurred on by court successes in Hawaii and elsewhere, CLF intends to sue the town of Barnstable and Willowbend for alleged violations of Clean Water regulations affecting the Lewis and Popponesset Bays.

Yarmouth Residents Approve First Phase of Sewer Project – June 25, 2020
As reported in CapeCod.Com, “Yarmouth residents voted to approve the appropriation of $5.2 million for the design, permitting, and construction related to the first phase of the town’s wastewater collection system at this week’s town meeting.” Kudos to the Friends of Bass River for their advocacy of this first-step initiative.

Mashpee Approves Treatment Plant Design – June 15, 2020
And speaking of Mashpee and Shoestring Bay, Mashpee Town Meeting voters approved a $2.48 million debt exclusion for the design of a wastewater treatment plant, a $60 million operating budget and the purchase of a bog near Santuit Pond on Monday, June 15. (per The Mashpee Enterprise) This was another long, hard slog. Convincing residents that saving the Bay was worth the investment fell to town leaders and the Mashpee Clean Waters group.

Lets cheer the good news and get right back to work. These are baby steps in the right direction. I hope you’ll join us in spreading the word about our damaged waterways and encourage your neighbors and town officers to vote and work for change. Email Gary Markowitz at




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