How to Help

Residents can take a number of steps to raise awareness of the problems and Save Our Shoestring.  If you have ideas about other ways to educate our neighbors and lobby our representatives, please email me at

I. Contact your Local and State Representatives
Selectmen and administrators respond to citizen action. We suggest your either call or email them and say: “Cleaning up the nitrogen overload and high bacterial counts in Shoestring and Popponesett Bays are a priority, and I support the cleanup effort.”

Town of Mashpee Select Board – (508) 539-1401

  • David W. Weeden- Chair
  • John J Cotton – Vice Chair
  • Thomas F. O’Hara – Clerk
  • Carol A. Sherman – Member
  • Michaela Wyman-Colombo – Member

Barnstable Town Council

State Senators and Representatives

II. Support Local Shellfish Aquaculture Projects & Proposals
Oysters and quahogs naturally remove nitrogen from the water. Please be supportive when proposals for aquaculture are put forward through the public comment process. Having a thriving shellfish population in Shoestring Bay is imperative to establishing a healthy estuarial habitat and returning water quality to its original pristine condition.

Mashpee Shellfish Commission   (508) 539-1439
Barnstable Natural Resources Program   508-790-6272

III.  Encourage Your Town to Move Quickly with the IMA Plans
All Towns within either of the IMAs will hold periodic public meetings on their nitrogen mitigation plans. When they ask how to pay for the improvements, tell them to seek funding for these projects through multiple sources:

  • Non-traditional – Cape Cod Water Protection Fund, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Revolving Fund, private and federal grants
  • Traditional  – bonds, tax assessments and fees

IV. Re-Think Lawn and Garden Care [Per US EPA]


  • Avoid applying fertilizer close to waterways and applyonly when necessary and at the recommended amount.
  • Don’t apply fertilizer before windy or rainy days.
  • Apply fertilizer as close as possible to the period of maximum uptake and growth for grass and other plants, which is usually spring and fall in cool climate, and early and late summer in warm climates.
  • Do not overwater lawns and garden; use a soaker hose, a porous hose that releases water directly to the ground, which can reduce overwatering that carries away fertilizers that would otherwise enrich lawns and gardens.


  • Plant a rain garden of native plants, shrubs and trees that reduce the amount of fertilizer needed and provide a way for water to soak into the ground.
  • Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater; the rainwater can later be used to wash your car or water your plants and lawn.
  • Adopt techniques that utilize natural processes to manage stormwater runoff and reduce the impact of impervious surfaces on water quality.
  • Use pervious pavers for walkways and low traffic areas to allow water to soak into the ground.
  • Use yard waste, which includes grass clippings and leaves, in mulch or compost for your garden. If this is not an option, prepare all clippings and leaves for community composting, or in barrels or secured papers bags for disposal, which keeps them from washing into streams.