Ponds, Lakes and Rivers

The Town of Barnstable has 182 freshwater ponds, 93 of which are one acre or more. Twenty-five ponds are greater than 10 acres and are considered “Great Ponds” under state regulations. Collectively, ponds occupy 1,856 acres within the town.

Development of water quality impacts in surface waters generally follow a progression from higher nutrient concentrations to low oxygen conditions: more nutrients create more plants (either algae or rooted plants), which in turn create more decaying material falling to the pond bottom, where bacteria decompose the dead plants. Since the bacteria consume oxygen, more decomposing plant material can remove oxygen for the water, which in turn produces chemical conditions that allow nutrients in the decomposing plant to be regenerated back into the water, creating the opportunity to start the cycle all over again by prompting more plant growth.



What is Hydrilla?

Hydrilla is a submerged, perennial aquatic plant that has earned the illustrious title “world’s worst invasive aquatic plant”.  Listed as a federal noxious weed, this awful aquatic has made its home in just about every conceivable freshwater habitat including: rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, marshes, canals, ditches, and reservoirs.  

What is Cyanobacteria?

Cyanobacteria are aquatic and photosynthetic, that is, they live in the water, and can manufacture their own food. Because they are bacteria, they are quite small and usually unicellular, though they often grow in colonies large enough to see. They have the distinction of being the oldest known fossils, more than 3.5 billion years old, in fact! It may surprise you then to know that the cyanobacteria are still around; they are one of the largest and most important groups of bacteria on earth.

Ideas for healthy water?

Consider a rain garden for your yard. A  rain garden can be your personal contribution to cleaner water. Individual efforts can help improve the water quality of our lakes, rivers, springs, and aquifer.

This neighborhood campaign to “slow the flow” of stormwater runoff will lead to a better environment. Community gardens may seem small, but collectively they produce substantial local and regional water quality benefits. Rain gardens work for us in several ways:  increasing the amount of water filtering into the ground, which recharges groundwater and helps reduce the amount of pollutants washing off to lakes and streams;  helping protect communities from flooding and drainage problems and reducing the need for costly municipal stormwater treatment facilities;  helping protect streams and lakes from damaging flows and reducing erosion of streambanks and lakeshores and providing valuable wildlife habitat. 

REMEMBER: Every drop you lose, nature finds… “Slow the Flow!”

Tips for Your own Backyard Rain Garden here