The Chamber’s Christmas Tree Lighting is Friday, November 29th followed by Christmas Stroll the following weekend, December 6 – 8. This year, with the Jared Coffin House undergoing renovations, Santa will be greeting children at the Whaling Museum’s Discovery Room. Ho! Ho! Ho!
New Year’s Eve on Nantucket this year will feature an afternoon of family-friendly activities offered by different non-profits and organizations at various locations around town and culminating in the 5 pm “Anchor Drop” at the Nantucket Hotel and Resort. Get your NYE gear ready for a frolicking afternoon of fun on Tuesday, December 31st.
News from the Natural Resources Department
Town of Nantucket Receives New Great Pond Permits
The Town, in a partnership with the Nantucket Pond Coalition, announced last week the receipt of new pond management permits from the Army Corps of Engineers that will allow the Town to modify the Town’s management options of two Great Ponds on Nantucket.
The Natural Resources Department held two public forums on pond management in 2018 and 2019 to hear public input regarding management of Nantucket ponds. After the forums, Natural Resources Director Jeff Carlson presented the Pond Management Principles to the Select Board in August of 2019, which were subsequently approved by the Select Board. Based on those principles, the Town applied for new permits for both Miacomet and Sesachacha Ponds.
The purpose of drawdown in Sesachacha and Hummock Ponds is primarily to allow exchange with seawater and increased salinity to support estuarine processes like fish spawning and oyster culture. Hummock Pond did not need permit renewal while Sesachacha did, but the current interpretation of the permits allows flood control as part of the management of those ponds as warranted.
The new permits also allow drawdown dates to coincide with the running of river herring, which spawn in the ponds each year as well as an option to undertake some additional dredging at Sesachacha should it be necessary to properly lower the water level. Actions will be adjusted to avoid impact to endangered species like piping plovers that nest on the barrier beaches to some of these ponds. This recent permitting helps set the stage for better management of all the ponds.
Commercial Scallop Season
Commercial scalloping season started on November 1 and the Natural Resources Department has been working very hard with local scallopers to manage dense scallop seed populations which will be next year’s scallop harvest.
Extreme wind events have caused two large seed stranding events and over 500 bushels of seed scallops have been rescued and returned to deeper waters through coordination with Natural Resources, scallopers and the local community.
In addition to rescuing scallops from the beaches, large seed populations have been discovered in Polpis Channel. A large scale movement effort is being coordinated between the town biologist and local fishermen to relocate these seed to deeper water where they will grow, reproduce, and contribute to next year’s spawn season and eventual harvest.
Seed management has become a very important part of the Town’s shellfish stock enhancement strategy this season as we strive to improve our water quality and shellfish habitat. Recent reports this month of scallop populations dying off in the Peconic Bay and as far away as China has us moving seed populations around the harbor more than ever to make sure they have the best chance of surviving the winter and to optimize spawn potential in the spring.
Assistant Biologist at the International Symposium on Stock Enhancement and Sea Ranching
Assistant Biologist Leah Cabral attended the International Symposium on Stock Enhancement and Sea Ranching at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, FL. The goal of the conference was to explore the scientific basis and practice of aquaculture-based and habitat-based fisheries enhancement, and identify where these approaches can be improved and integrated to provide innovative solutions and create new opportunities for resource management.
This conference gave Leah the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with well known stock enhancement experts. Many were pleased that Nantucket runs a town shellfish hatchery and is prioritizing enhancement strategies for bay scallops, oysters, and quahogs. For more information about stock enhancement or sea ranching visit www.searanching.org.
Water Resource Specialist Represents Nantucket at the North American Lake Management Society
During the week of November 11, Water Resource Specialist Thaïs Fournier represented the Town at the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) 39th International Symposium in Burlington, Vermont.
The theme of the conference was Watershed Moments: Harnessing Data, Science, and Local Knowledge to Protect Lakes. NALMS mission is to forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs. As the Town manages four of the island’s Great Ponds, this conference has been instrumental in learning new methodology to monitor water quality, educating the public, innovative technology to manage blue-green algae, and managing and preventing aquatic invasive species.
News from the Fire Department
New Fire Station Opening
The new Fire Station is move-in ready and the department is moving today, Wednesday, November 20th. An open house for the public will be scheduled for a later date.
Community Wildfire Protection Plan
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has issued a contract to start development of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWP) and is a critical portion of the Hazard Mitigation Plan for the Island. This plan will provide for the development of a comprehensive wildland management plan to address potential wildland fires. Community and stakeholder meetings will be part of this plan to develop the best plan possible for the safety of the community while balancing the historical nature of the island.
News from Our Island Home
- November 25: Classical music performance by Mollie Glazer
- November 27: Original songs and covers by Susan Berman
- December 11: “Nanpuppets” puppet show
- December 18: Nantucket Ballet School performance of the Nutcracker
All performances are at 4 PM at the Our Island Home living room area.
Our Island Home’s art class will have a tree on display at the Festival of Trees at the Whaling Museum, which runs from December 7th-31st 10am to 4pm (excluding Christmas Day).