A Brief History of the Lagoon Pond Association

(An Expansion of the original by Martha Rich, June 2008)

The LPA was formed 1n 1989 by the merging of two similar organizations: the Oklahoma Association in Tisbury and the Eastville-Lagoon Association in Oak Bluffs. Both had the same essential mission—to protect and preserve Lagoon Pond. In 1989 they “came to their senses” and merged to become a single, stronger voice.

In the twenty five years since the merger much has been undertaken and much accomplished. Large and powerful motorboats, which for years had menaced swimmers and small boats are now rarely seen on the Pond. When they do appear, most follow speed and safety regulations. The pilots of small planes that occasionally landed on the Pond have been educated and restrained.

Many individual members of the LPA volunteered to attend various town board meetings regularly and to report on their proceedings to the LPA board. Among the most frequently monitored were the MV Commission, Tisbury and Oak Bluffs Conservation Commissions, Boards of Health, Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Appeal. Cooperation with these groups produced many favorable results.

Lagoon.
Lagoon.

The longest and most expensive project went on for more than seven years. It involved the issuance of permits to build seven long piers on the Oak Bluffs side of the Lagoon. It was felt that these piers would have a serious negative impact on the Lagoon, especially on shell fishing, but also on the long term health of the environment. Adjudicatory hearings were held in Boston as a result of a lawsuit filed by the LPA.  Eventually, several of the piers were built, some in a modified form. As a result of the suit, both towns passed new regulations controlling the erection of piers that prevented the Lagoon from becoming a huge marina.

Concern for the water quality led the LPA, arranged and funded by the LPA, to ascertain the changing water conditions.  It also encouraged the upgrading of septic systems, avoiding nitrogen based fertilizers and underground oil tanks.  It supported the rejuvenation of the herring run in the upper pond and the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group hatchery.

More recently, the LPA has taken up contemporary issues associated with the quality of the water and the environment. Support for the addling of Canada Geese eggs over the recent two years has we hope reduced the size of the flock of geese on the Lagoon. Signs, receptacles and bags have been provided at various landings frequented by dog walkers. A large algal bloom in the west arm of the Lagoon was manually removed by volunteers with rakes and small boats.

The list goes but in keeping with the original purpose of the individual associations and the current merged organization, the LPA is committed to the maintenance and improvement of a wonderful asset of Martha’s Vineyard.