May 27, 2016

For information contact:

Thomas Trigg, Head of School
Cape Cod Academy
508-428-5400 x 214

Lindsey B. Counsell, Exec. Dir.,
Three Bays Preservation, Inc.


Three Bays Preservation, Inc., Presents Four Projects for Cape Cod Academy’s 2nd Annual ‘Water Day’

Hands-On Projects Designed to Address Barnstable’s Water Quality Challenges


(Osterville, Mass.) – Cape Cod’s waters—freshwater rivers, streams and ponds, and marine environments—may look healthy, but they’re far from pristine ecosystems. Nitrogen from septic systems is the main cause.  Stormwater runoff and fertilizers are also significant sources.  Stormwater contains pathogens and nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus, metals, and from motor vehicles: petroleum hydrocarbons.

To nurture environmental knowledge and stewardship in its students and raise significant awareness about water issues, Cape Cod Academy hosted its 2nd Annual Water Day on Monday, May 23rd. Water Day is the brainchild of Keith Lewison, a teacher of humanities and Environmental Club advisor at CCA, who believes that an “interdisciplinary education is one of the best ways for students to both see how their academic learning matters, and to care about and save places that sustain us all, including, of course, the Three Bays watershed and Cape Cod.” 


Four programs in green technology designed and developed by Scott Horsley, a consultant to Three Bays Preservation, Inc., and co-founder of Horsley Witten Group, Inc., a Sandwich-based environmental engineering firm, were a significant part of Water Day. Seventy-three students from Grades 9 through 11 piled onto buses and visited those four key program project sites:


  • Mill Pond in Marstons Mills, an iconic landmark with a rich history that dates back 300 years.  Sitting at the juncture of Routes 28 and 149, Mill Pond remains one of the most photographed ponds in the Town of Barnstable because of its bucolic setting. But its ecological function has been significantly impaired by long-term sedimentation. 
  • CCA students toured the area of the North Bay Aquaculture Project that will begin this summer.
  • Cotuit Town Dock Project on Oyster Place where a newly installed rain garden filled with indigenous plants was designed to remove pollutants from water runoff before it flows into Cotuit Bay. This unique green technology is a pilot project to publicly showcase how a retrofitted drainage system functions as an alternative to a conventional storm sewer.
  • Sited in a small area on the CCA campus is a section of lawn in which human urine diluted by water will be used as grass nourishment—called urine diversion and fertigation—in lieu of conventional and often-poisonous fertilizer. 


These four projects were not one-day events.  It’s the intention of Three Bays Preservation to clean and restore Mill Pond, launch a shellfish farm, continue to monitor the new rain garden at Cotuit Town Dock, and supervise the fertigation effort underway on a 20’ by 80’ test patch of lawn on the CCA campus. Four seniors at Cape Cod Academy are on a month-long service project with Three Bays and are working on these projects under the supervision of Scott Horsley and Lindsey Counsell as part of required community engagement prior to graduation. Each of the four initiatives is part of a long-range strategy toward ecological health under the terms of the Cape Cod 208 Plan. 

Section 208 of the Clean Water Act requires state and local governments to develop plans to mitigate the impacts of wastewater, improve water quality, and eliminate sources of pollutants. The Cape Cod 208 Plan focuses on a new watershed-based approach to ecosystem restoration, and was developed and drafted by the Cape Cod Commission. [Governor Charlie Baker certified the plan in June 2015, and the Environmental Protection Agency signed off on the same plan in September 2015.] Three Bays, a leading non-profit in environmental technology and engineering, will play an integral role in implementing the Cape Cod 208 Plan in its mission area that includes West Bay, North Bay and Cotuit Bay, including all coves and connecting freshwater rivers and ponds. All told, the Three Bays Watershed consists of 12,458 acres. 

“An event like Water Day is important because it gives the students a chance to learn about important water-related issues here in Barnstable, and have a hands-on experience learning about how we measure the impacts and extent of the problem in our embayment and waterways,” explained Lindsey Counsell, executive director of Three Bays Preservation, Inc.  Counsell added events like Water Day may inspire students to seek meaningful careers in the environmental field.

Cape Cod Academy Head of School Tom Trigg applauds the ingenuity of Water Day and the four innovative projects sponsored by Three Bays Preservation, Inc.  “We want to teach students to be responsibly engaged with the world,” explained Trigg.




Three Bays Preservation, Inc., is dedicated to restoring and protecting West, North and Cotuit Bays, and the coves, ponds, rivers and streams that form our watershed and ecosystems.  Since 1996, Three Bays Preservation, Inc., has continued stewardship efforts through applied science, educational programs, and ecosystem-based management practices.  To learn more, visit Three Bays Preservation online at




Cape Cod Academy (CCA) is an independent college preparatory day school for grades Pre-K through 12 with a mission to pursue academic excellence and develop life skills in a safe, values-centered community. Located in Osterville and founded in 1976, CCA is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS,) the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE,) and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Visit for more information.


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