Friday, November 4, 2016

November 4, 2016

  1. The restaurant initiative made a small amount of progress this week. APCC is now actively collaborating with CARE for the Cape and Islands. Jill Talladay from CARE and I met with Falmouth Architect Jill Neubauer to review her Falmouth project “buy better toss smarter”  to see how that ground breaking project lays a foundation for a Cape-wide effort. We are now reaching out to the Cape Cod Chamber for their support.
  2. I met with CapeAbilities representatives to iron details for having a CapeAbilities client help with maintenance and grounds keeping at 482. Our goal is have this be a win/win for both organizations (neighbors). This would be on a contractual basis.
  3. The floor in the conference room is in the process of being installed. If all goes as planned, we should have the room completed in time for the November 21st Board meeting.
  4. April is in Paris but before she left she finished and issued a request for proposals (RFP) on the SNEP stormwater project - seeking an engineering firm. 
  5. Kristin organized a second meeting with representatives from various freshwater pond groups across the Cape for the purpose of networking and identifying common goals and objectives. Issues raised include having a repository for all pond data collected Cape-wide and make it available in a usable format; public education and outreach; management options and scientific resources. Topic ideas were discussed for a freshwater pond session at the Cape Coastal Conference being planned for  December 6 and 7th.
  6. The film, One Big Home, drew a nearly full house to the Chatham Orpheum last Thursday night, selling 120 tickets. This is APCC's third film event and there appears to be strong interest in these events. We plan to do more, however while ticket sales cover our out of pocket expenses and generate a very modest profit, we are seeking grants to make it a sustainable program for APCC – modest profit will replenish a fund and we won’t have to dip into operating funds to keep it going. 
  7. In another education and outreach initiative Get Outdoors with APCC kicks off with a nature walk in Yarmouth (Gray’s Beach area) on Friday, November 18th at 10am. Naturalist and historian Todd Kelley has agreed to donate his time to APCC to give a talk and walk. Look for more information on the website and in your email early next week.
  8. Don testified on Wednesday at the Cape Cod Commission’s public hearing for the Canal 3 development proposal to build a quick-start electric power generator at the Canal Generating Station in Sandwich. APCC’s testimony included comments on the adequacy of the project’s spill prevention and containment plan for hazardous materials, stormwater management plan, landscaping plan and resiliency to sea level rise. The comments were focused on assuring protection of coastal resources, groundwater and adjacent wetlands. The Cape Cod Commission has no regulatory jurisdiction over other pertinent areas regarding emissions. A final hearing and vote by the full Commission is tentatively scheduled for December 1st.

Friday, October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016

  1. About 120 people including almost a quorum of the board attended last night's documentary One Big Home. It was definitely a call to action for zoning reform and an improved land use vision - preserving community character. 
  2. Heat, air conditioning and insulation are all completed in the conference room. Next week the goal is to finish flooring and thresholds.
  3.  APCC submitted comments on the EPA proposal to turn over more range monitoring to the state at Joint Base Cape Cod.  Comments are attached.
  4. The Restoration Coordination Center held the partner kickoff meeting (3 Bays Preservation, Inc., Town of Barnstable DPW and Cape Cod Commission) for the Southeast New England Program (SNEP) grant.  The meeting went extremely smoothly and the next milestone is to issue a request for proposals to engineering companies for design and construction.
  5. I attended a water quality innovation workshop sponsored by Worcester Polytech. The takeaway is that there are a lot of barriers including regulatory, financial and a research community that is too narrowly focused to attaining a truly innovative environmental investment landscape. One of the interesting keynotes focused on the fact that making environmental improvements “free” (grants) devalues their acceptance and importance (he opined that this is one of the prime reasons that we don’t maintain things). Our AmericCorps member (Tara) started this week. She will be working primarily with Kristin.
  6. End of Year Appeal is at the printers. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

July 1, 2016

  1. The Cape Cod Commission held a hearing on the final environmental impact statement  for the Herring River restoration project's  final environmental impact report pursuant to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). The report fully describes the environmental impacts including the the numerous benefits. I commented briefly on the history of APCC's interest (since 1976) and the community value of investing in this type of green infrastructure project. APCC will submit a letter urging the Secretary to issue a certificate and allow the project to proceed.
  2. April convened a meeting of the Restoration Coordination Center's partners this week. The RCC is quickly earning a reputation for vision and competence. The focus of the meeting was to develop a system to prioritize projects.
  3.  On Thursday the state Senate unanimously passed its version of a comprehensive energy bill with an amendment that attaches the Climate Adaptation Management Plan (CAMP) legislation to it. Don, on behalf of APCC, is an active member of the coalition advocating for the adoption of CAMP. It's now in the hands of a conference committee, which will attempt to reconcile major differences between the House and Senate versions of the energy bill in the month left before the end of the legislative session.
  4. The native landscape planting is getting underway. Kristin is leading the effort to install the next phase of over 100 native plantings. We are looking for volunteers to help with the planting and it would be great if you could help with this effort. I think it will give you a better picture of the laboratory concept and the plan. This will be an ongoing effort.
  5. While energy is not an area of APCC expertise it is an important factor influencing the Cape and climate change. The Cape Cod Technology Council hosted an informative program on the Eversource proposal to make improvements to the grid supplying electricity to the Cape. The take away was that the program is fraught with incentives that do not benefit the public and like all things Massachusetts the plan is Boston-centric.
  6. The Cape Cod Canal Transportation Study announced that it hopes to release the "no build " traffic study in the next few weeks: what happens to traffic if nothing is changed. This is expected to be controversial because many of the assumptions underlying the model have been criticized. At least for now the mid-canal crossing which APCC was particularly concerned seems to have gone into long term hibernation. Unfortunately you never know when it might awake.
  7. Kristin and Bryan installed 3 rain barrels to our roof downspouts. Now we just need some rain to fill them up. The installation was timed with the planting project.
  8. The office is closed Monday July 4rth. Have a great holiday.

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 24, 2016

  1. The One Cape 208 status conference was held this Thursday and Friday.  APCC received mention for the completion of the USGS sea level rise study and praise from Senator Wolf in his keynote address—both APCC and the Business Roundtable were singled out. I was quoted in the Cape Cod Times story on the conference. I can't say that there was a major development or revelation at the the conference. The take away was definite progress has been made and no one is opposed to the process. 
  2. When I arrived at APCC I noticed that APCC was a member (financial supporter) of some land trusts on the Cape but not others. I thought a better way to support open space was to donate Compact professional assistance time to specific projects—projects that were either unique or challenging. For the past few years we have been focused on assisting start up trusts: Oyster Pond Environmental Trust and Native Land Conservancy.  This year it was the Provincetown Conservation Trust that received our help.
  3. We had a pro bono brief archaeology assessment of 482 Main Street. I am not sure if this is good news or bad news but there was nothing striking found worth pursuing additional investigation. The main purpose of the visit was to explore collaborating on projects and restorations.
  4. Pilgrim had another leak (cooling system) this week that caused them to reduce their power output. We are continuing to develop a position statement on the draft EPA NPDES permit (cooling water and stormwater). 
  5. Here is the USGS aquifer study. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

June 10, 2016

  1. APCC was one of the original partners in Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative (5C's) which held a kickoff meeting at the Wequassett Inn Wednesday evening. The effort is the brainchild of the Center for Coastal Studies and Pleasant Bay Community Boating. The event received very favorable press attention with the exception of Ed Lampert on WTXK radio.
  2. The sold out Polly Hill Arboretum trip was a great success albeit some choppy seas for the crossing. Because of the success and interest by many who couldn't be accommodated, Kristin will plan a fall trip. Trips like this really help us build awareness of what APCC is all about.
  3. On Tuesday, Don and April joined representatives from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) national and state offices on a tour of several restoration projects that received funding through the NRCS Cape Cod Water Resources Restoration Project. The salt marsh restoration, stormwater remediation and herring run restoration projects visited are examples of the many successful projects made possible through the NRCS program. For several years, APCC has been working with the state's Congressional delegation and national watershed groups on efforts to restore funding to the NRCS program. APCC and our partners have identified over 150 priority restoration projects on the Cape that are in need of funding.
  4. The legislature is considering establish a Pilgrim Shutdown Advisory Committee. The two houses have disagreed on the concept and the issue is in conference committee. We will continue to follow.
  5. Senator Dan Wolf officially credited APCC with cultivating his interest in zoning reform.
  6. It is not too late to invite friends and neighbors to the Hometown Habitat movie and breakfast events next Thursday and Friday.
  7. Robert and Liz completed the final loan application papers for the USDA Rural Development Loan. The best news was that the interest rate has come down. The interest rate will be 2.875% and the term 40 years. Just as a point of reference this will be $1,400 per month less in a mortgage payment than was our rent in Barnstable. Obviously we have added maintenance costs in Dennis but all in all the purchase saves us money and builds equity.
  8. Board meeting is June 20th and begins with a social gathering to meet interns and neighbors. Feel free to arrive a little early. There is full agenda for the Board.
  9. Jo Ann is working with U.S. Geological Survey  to prepare a joint press release on the Sea Level Rise Study. We are hoping to have agreement and release next week. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

June 3, 2016

  1. There are two events in the next few weeks that the Board should be participating and hopefully inviting friends along. June 16th is the Hometown Habitat Cape movie premiere at the Cape Cinema in Dennis.  The reception starts at6 PM (cash bar) and the movie shows at 7 PM. We are hoping for a full house and are relying on your help. You can purchase tickets through our website. Friday morning June 17th is the Breakfast at the Sea event at Eastward Ho Country Club with featured guest Catherine Zimmerman (producer of Hometown Habitat). Doors open at 8:30 AM and the full breakfast buffet begins at 9 AM. Thanks to Robert, Eliza and Charlie who have already signed up.
  2. The June 20th Board meeting begins with our summer wine and cheese meet the interns gala. Arrive a little early to take full advantage because we expect a full agenda will follow at the Board meeting - including votes required for the USDA mortgage. In addition to meeting the interns  we have invited our Route 6A neighbors to join us.
  3. APCC participated in a U.S. Department of Energy public meeting on consent based siting of nuclear waste storage. For 60 years the federal government has been attempting and failing to develop a plan and site for storing high grade nuclear waste (power plants and defense). This latest effort is attempting to solicit communities to volunteer and consent to being depositories of waste in large part for cash payouts. Communities would have to meet siting criteria - sparsely populated, seismically stable, away from coastline, arid etc. Based on this meeting trust in the government to carry out this important task is absent. Failure means waste continues to accumulate and be vulnerable to a host of risks at Pilgrim.
  4. APCC is participating in the Pleasant Bay Community Boating's Paris to Pleasant Bay: Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative forum at the Wequassett Inn next Wednesday.
  5. We received a nice thank you from the Town of Chatham concerning our recent comments to the Congressional delegation on the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.
  6. APCC participated in the Waquoit Bay NER workshop on Building Stronger Coasts. The take away was that there are huge regulatory voids regarding building along the coast.
  7. The Polly Hill Arboretum trip was a big hit and quickly sold out. There are no seats available and a long waiting list.
  8. USDA will be here Monday to finalize loan papers and begin the home stretch toward closing the mortgage. Our short term financing has been extended by the Bolles.
  9. The Harwich CWMP MEPA certificate (Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs) referenced APCC in several instances, and even lifted language straight from our comment letter regarding sea level rise impacts:
"The Town of Harwich declined to adopt a nutrient management bylaw as authorized by the Cape-wide Fertilizer District of Critical Planning Concern in 2013. The Town should consider developing a detailed plan, including proposed actions and budgets for fertilizer management to support the credit taken for fertilizer reductions in the CWMP. In addition, I note comments from the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod (APCC) which recommend the Town consider land use planning strategies to limit potential impacts associated with growth."

"The Single EIR has identified certain areas of town with shallow depth-to-groundwater south of Route 28 along the southern coast. Due to Title 5 and board of health compliance issues based on high groundwater and small lot sizes, the Town has included these low-lying areas in the sewering plan. The CWMP states that sewer lines and pumping stations built within existing flood zones will be designed to withstand flood conditions. However, the Final CWMP does not explain how or if infrastructure design for these locations will account for predicted sea level rise and the impact it will have on the extent of future surface flooding. The Town should focus on developing design plans that address future flood risk, not just current flood risk.As phases of the project are further developed, the Town’s sewering design should also consider anticipated changes to the water table as a result of sea level rise. A groundwater modeling study of the mid-Cape Cod region conducted over the past two years by the U.S. Geological Survey and commissioned by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) predicts significant impacts to inground infrastructure and the function of natural systems due to changes in the interface between salt water and the water table, based on expected sea level rise. It is possible that in low-lying coastal areas of Harwich, predicted sea level rise will increase the number of properties experiencing Title 5 compliance issues due to a high water table compared to the number of properties currently experiencing such problems."

"According to the Final CWMP, stormwater contributes approximately five to nine percent of the controllable nitrogen entering Harwich’s coastal waters. It is also a source for phosphorus in freshwater ponds... The APCC recommends in its comments that the Town review its bylaws and regulations to determine where improvements can be made to increase the effectiveness of stormwater management to further reduce nutrients and other pollutants from entering water bodies.