Waterkeepers Meet in Hyannis, Massachusetts for Regional Summit - Waterkeeper

Waterkeepers Meet in Hyannis, Massachusetts for Regional Summit

By: María Victoria Díaz-González

Earlier this month, North Atlantic Waterkeepers gathered in Hyannis, Massachusetts for a long awaited Regional Summit. 

The North Atlantic Regional Summit drew 25 participants, representing eight states. Also in attendance were Waterkeeper Alliance Deputy Director Mary Beth Postman, Training Associate Hailey Savage and Organizer María Díaz-González. 

The Summit featured five workshops and two field tours. 

On the first full day, participants traveled by ferry to the island of Nantucket. In the morning, the group gathered at Bartlett’s Farm for sessions on HABs and PFAS. Dr. Jim Sutherland, Ayesha Khan (Nantucket PFAS Action Group) and Kristen Mello (Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves) joined Nantucket Waterkeeper RJ Tucotte in presenting the science behind, and impacts of, HABs and PFAS on the island’s waters and communities. They also dove into the innovative solutions that Nantucket Waterkeeper and the Nantucket Land Council are developing.

After the sessions, the group was treated to a tour of Nantucket led by RJ, Emily Moulden and Anna Day from the Nantucket Land Council. We visited the sites of several water quality and policy efforts by Council, along with notable island landmarks. Narragansett Baykeer Mike Jarbeau said, “The Nantucket trip, and the opportunity to see and learn firsthand about Nantucket Waterkeeper projects and issues, was especially valuable and worthwhile.”

The next day featured three sessions and five presenters. 

In the morning, Great Bay-Pisctatqua Waterkeeper Melissa Paly and Long Island Soundkeeper Bill Lucey presented on successful dam removal campaigns in their respective communities.

The second session of the day focused on the intersection of Federal Indian Law and the Clean Water Act. Presenters Michael Knapp (Office of Regional Council EPA Region One) and Maulian Dana (Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador) walked the group through the basics of Federal Indian Law and how it’s played out in both securing and denying water rights to indigenous nations in Maine. The last session of the day featured Dr. Alyssa Novak of Boston University — a frequent Waterkeeper collaborator — and revolved around the mechanics of eelgrass restoration efforts.

‘We ended the summit in true Waterkeeper style with a Friday visit to the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center. There, the group toured the lush green facilities and learned about the latest nutrient removal technologies and innovation in septic systems. 

A special thanks to the Nantucket Land Council for making this such a special summit!