Geese Line The Edge Of Hen Cove

Geese line the edge of Hen Cove

A group of Pocasset residents has moved forward in its efforts to clean up what they consider to be an intolerable situation regarding the condition of water in their neighborhood. The group has become incorporated, started fundraising, and has its own website in development.

The Pocasset Water Quality Coalition cites as its mission “to restore the water quality of Hen Cove, Barlows Landing harbor and the inlet of Wings Neck to healthy environmental levels.” The coalition appeared before both the Bourne board of selectmen and the community preservation committee last fall to request that something be done about the poor condition of the water quality in those areas.

Coalition members and residents complained that the water quality is deplorable and gives off a horrible stench. The beach at Hen Cove is often closed due to high counts of coliform bacteria that residents maintain is the result of a lack of tidal flow.

Francis A. Gasson of Spruce Drive, the coalition’s president and treasurer, has pointed to engineering done by the town in the 1960s that resulted in causeways. The causeways created the problem, he has said. He has suggested reversing that engineering—by either installing a culvert or dredging Hen Cove—to alleviate the problem.

Town Conservation Agent Samuel O. Haines has said the problem at Hen Cove is multifaceted, with no quick fix. He noted that a dam Mr. Gasson referenced is located on private land, and removal would require coordination with the Bourne Conservation Trust.

He also pointed out that a feasibility study would have to be done before taking any action relative to the dam to ensure that it does not result in flooding other neighborhoods.

Mr. Haines also said that there is more pressure on the area due to increased activity than there was 50 years ago. More people are retiring to Bourne, he said, and more people are building bigger houses. That means bigger septic systems and more fertilizer use, which adds to nitrogen loading in the area, he said.

At the selectmen’s meeting last September, Town Counsel Robert S. Troy advised that the residents form an alliance of interested individuals to work with local and state authorities on the issue. The group took Mr. Troy’s advice to heart and formed the coalition.

Prior to the coalition forming Mr. Gasson made a presentation to the community preservation committee, seeking funding for a study of the area’s water. At Special Town Meeting last October, residents approved Article 2, a CPA funding measure that included $50,000 for an engineering study of water quality at Hen Cove, Barlows Landing, Patuisset Island Pond and Wings Neck Dam.

Keith Barber, the coalition’s secretary, noted in a recent email that the group was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts last November. The group has also received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, which allows it to accept tax-deductible donations.

A board of directors that includes Mr. Gasson, Mr. Barber, Christopher G. Weinert of Cedar Point Drive, Martha A. Hoefer of Park Street, Christine A. McManus of Shore Road, Jerry E. Struzik of Circuit Avenue, Chris Bade, Dwight Lueth of Kennebec Avenue and Charles J. Kert of Barlows Landing Road has also been established.

The group meets the third Saturday of each month, Mr. Barber said. A social gathering/information session is being planned, once social distancing measures have been relaxed, to encourage new members, he said.

“We are working toward the day when we have clean, pure saltwater for our families and community to enjoy, as well as healthy natural marshes and wetlands for our birds and marine wildlife,” Mr. Barber said.

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