THREE BAYS WATERSHED
Landscape-Based Solutions to Improve Water Quality
The Three Bays Watershed and Marstons Mills River corridor is
located in BArnstable, Sandwich and Mashpee on Cape Cod,
Massachusetts. The watershed is part of three separate villages
within the Town of Barnstable: Cotuit, Marstons Mills and
Osterville. The Three Bays Watershed is comprised of Cotuit Bay,
North Bay and West Bay. The watershed is an iconic Cape Cod
landscape with unique ecological, historical, recreational and
cultural resources. The watershed is situated in a complex
landscape matrix that includes a mix of residential and commercial
development, as well as a mix of ecological communities including:
dunes, salt and freshwater marshes, shrub and forested swamps,
cranberry bogs, coastal grasslands and Oak and Pitch Pine forests.
Presently, the water quality of the Three Bays is seriously
impaired and routinely exceeds water quality standards for
nitrogen. In 2016, a summer algal bloom occurred within the Three
Bays, which caused fish kills and put the commercial oyster industry
at risk. The ecological and cultural impacts brought increased
public awareness to the developing water quality issue within the
Three Bays. The causes of this water quality impairment include
septic system leaching, stormwater discharge and runoff from
Check out Three Bays Watershed.
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