Schoolhouse Ministers Pond Remediation

Schoolhouse Ministers Pond Remediation

As part of the targeted watershed improvement plan, several remediations and stormwater improvement projects are ongoing at Schoolhouse Minister Ponds.

Schoolhouse Ministers Pond is a 22.3-acre waterbody comprised of two basins commonly referred to as separate ponds - Minister Pond as the northern basin and Schoolhouse Pond as the southern basin. The Minister basin is the larger and shallower of the two, at 16.8 acres with a maximum depth of 15 feet. The Schoolhouse basin is approximately 5.6 acres and reaches 18.5 feet at its deepest. Nearly the entire watershed is residentially developed, potentially contributing to nutrient deposition into the pond.

The 2009 assessment of the Eastham ponds found the need for remediation of Schoolhouse Ministers Pond in terms of nutrient impairment. In order to establish an updated state of the pond, SŌLitude performed an assessment of the Minister Schoolhouse Pond, including water chemistry, plankton, and vegetation sampling. Impairment was confirmed by means of the 2017 and 2018 monitoring, leading to the conception of the 2019 work program.

Work Programs

Phragmites RemovalPhragmites grass

Non-native Phragmites, also known as common reed, is a perennial, aggressive wetland grass that outcompetes native plants. Phragmites displaces native animals. Because of its height and its distinctive, fluffy seedheads, Phragmites is easy to spot, even by traveling motorists.

Read the FWS Phgragmites (PDF).


Hydro-raking (mechanical raking) is a widely used and effective technique for selective removal of nuisance, rooted vegetation. The hydro-rake is also used to clear accumulations of unconsolidated bottom muck and debris (i.e. decaying leaves, peat, etc.). Its ability to effectively remove all organic debris from the bottom of a pond make it an ideal choice for routine maintenance that will help to prolong or prevent the need for future dredging. Removing plants and debris will help to reduce the overall nutrient load, minimizing common water quality issues like low dissolved oxygen, foul odors, and nuisance algae blooms. 

Visit the SOLitude Lake Management website for more information.Aeration before and after graphic

Watch a video of hydro-raking at Schoolhouse Ministers Pond.


Aeration is the mixing of water in a lake or pond to increase exposure to the atmosphere and decrease harmful gases within the aquatic ecosystem. 

Schoolhouse-Ministers Pond Aeration 5-7-20 from Town of Eastham on Vimeo.

Planned Stormwater Projects

The Town, with consultants Horsley Witten and Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC), is developing stormwater improvement projects to decrease the nutrients entering the ponds. One of the stormwater projects, a wet swale, will occur at Fisherman's Landing, behind the Eastham Elementary School. A second stormwater improvement project, still in development phase, could occur on the state highway side of Schoolhouse Ministers Pond. Please see the presentations below by APCC and Horsley Witten for more information.