Freshwater Ponds

Eastham is home to many beautiful kettle ponds. The protection of these ponds is of great importance. The Health Department helps to monitor the health of the ponds and manages any recovery programs.

Pond Ecosystem Degradation

The health of ponds can be damaged by the build-up of excessive nutrients in the water. Stormwater creates run-off of nutrients from fertilizers, road and parking lots, nutrients from individual septic systems in the watershed, and bird droppings (Table 3-9, pg. 21 of Ecologic Study). The nutrients feed aquatic plants causing more algae, duckweed, cattails, and other aquatic plants than the pond would naturally sustain. The extra plant life depletes the oxygen levels in the pond. Decomposition of algae and sub-surface plants increases the number of bacteria (which decompose the dead plants) further limiting oxygen levels. When the oxygen levels fall, other life - such as fish- can not be sustained and the ecosystem of the pond is destroyed.

Wastewater Management Plan

The Town of Eastham has taken steps to protect our pond ecosystems. Testing of the ponds' water quality is done on a regular basis. The town has developed a water quality protection plan and is working on a wastewater management plan. In addition, the town has spearheaded the clean-up efforts in two of its ponds which had water quality problems. For more information, please call the  Eastham Health Department at 508-240-5900, ext. 3230.

Pond map Ecosystem degradation of a pond diagram