Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies

35 Years of Research & Education

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    Cape Cod Bay Monitoring Program


    Mission statement

    The Center's latest commitment to marine conservation is the Cape Cod Bay Ocean Sanctuary & Monitoring Programs.  The shared mission of the two programs is to:

    • To study the quality and health of Cape Cod Bay through applied science and research;
    • To protect and when possible restore the Bay’s estuaries and marshes, barrier beaches, creeks, rivers and harbors from human and natural threats;
    • To inform the public and decision makers about the natural resources of the Bay and threats to their long-term protection;
    • To advise local, state and federal resource managers about this unique marine environment;
    • To preserve Cape Cod Bay as a State Ocean Sanctuary, as defined by Chapter 132 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.

    Sunset on Cape Cod Bay

    Cape Cod Bay Monitoring Program background

    As a follow-up to its four-year monitoring program on the effects of the Boston Outfall on Cape Cod Bay, the board and staff of the Center have decided to expand its commitment to marine conservation of Cape Cod Bay.

    In spring of 2006, the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies began the Cape Cod Bay Monitoring Program, a long-term program designed to study the health of the Bay ecosystem.  The focus of this program is water quality and related indicators of ecosystem health.   Over 40 stations located along the shoreline and throughout Cape Cod Bay are sampled bi-weekly (April – October) for data on temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, chlorophyll a, and nutrients. Additional data are collected by volunteers from sites further inshore.  Therefore, data will be collected along the entire shoreline of Cape Cod Bay, from Provincetown to Duxbury, targeting areas of concern such as harbors, sewage disposal sites, surface water discharge sites, and shellfish beds, as well as from the offshore waters and less accessible regions of the bay.  Year-round sampling is conducted at select stations.

    Other components of the Monitoring Program, that will develop over the coming years, include research on eelgrass ecosystems (mapping, restoration, habitat studies), coastal geology (land-sea interaction), and salt marsh restoration.


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