Selectmen approved the appropriation of $10,500 for a water quality study of the Quashnet/Moonakis River estuary system Monday night.
The funding compliments a $20,000 grant from the Cape Cod Water Quality Collaborative to conduct the study, which will be carried out by the Massachusetts Estuaries Project. The grant is contingent on Falmouth and Mashpee sharing the remaining $23,000 cost of conducting the study. The Citizens for the Protection of Waquoit Bay have also contributed $2,500 to the study, while the Mashpee Environmental Coalition also plans to donate $3,000 to the project.
The MEP funded a study of the Quashnet/Moonakis River estuary in 2004. Matthew C. Patrick, a member of the Falmouth Water Quality Management Committee, told selectmen Monday that the new round of funding will be put toward looking at the effects of phosphorus in the river, which he said is the largest source of fresh water leading into Waquoit Bay. The continued study will also explore the potential for shellfish propagation in the upper part of the estuary, he said.
“We need this information in order to continue the cleanup process,” Mr. Patrick said.
Selectman Susan L. Moran said that, given how closely Falmouth and Mashpee will be working together as part of the regional 208 Plan to collaboratively clean up the Cape’s watersheds, the Quashnet/Moonakis study is a good way to start building a partnership between the communities.
“This is one of the first models of how communities can get together and share watersheds,” she said.
Selectman Rebecca R. Moffitt asked if Mashpee had committed its share of money to the effort. Andrew R. Gottlieb, a Mashpee selectman and the director of the Cape Cod Water Quality Collaborative, said that Mashpee selectmen are expected to vote on funding for the project in the coming weeks.