To Preserve and Protect
The Association to Preserve Cape Cod is ensuring the Cape will thrive for generations to come by saving our most precious resource: the water.
Across our incredibly captivating shoreline, the waves roar in from the Atlantic while the tide rises and falls to reveal infinite stretches of sand on the bayside. This small yet mighty slice of paradise has attracted artists and intellectuals for centuries. Henry David Thoreau’s Cape Cod chronicled his wonder at this region in the 1850s. As Thoreau predicted in his book, “The time must come when this coast will be a place of resort for those New-Englanders who really wish to visit the sea-side… But this shore will never be more attractive than it is now.” As the tourists arrived a century later, confirming Thoreau’s prediction, President John F. Kennedy authorized the establishment of the Cape Cod National Seashore, protecting over 43,000 acres of land in 1961. Just a few years later, in 1968, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) was founded by a group of passionate individuals amidst a nationwide environmental movement.
Today, APCC is a robust nonprofit working across all 15 towns on the Cape as our environment’s caretaker and advocate. For the past four years, Andrew Gottlieb has served as Executive Director of APCC. Gottlieb brings with him years of expertise in environmental protection work with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where he served in a variety of policy positions. With a small staff of skilled and experienced professionals and dedicated volunteers, APCC has made incredible strides in restoring the Cape’s natural habitats.
Steven Koppel, APCC Board Member and esteemed photographer, captures this region’s extraordinary essence through his lens. In his newly opened Expressions Gallery on Main Street in Chatham, his stunning work is displayed. Koppel donates a portion of his profits to APCC, and is passionate about bringing awareness to the organization through his gallery. “I think awareness is so important here. I’m just doing my own part. As visitors enter the gallery, I share about APCC. These are often Cape residents who are here because this is where they want to live the rest of their lives,” Koppel shares.
For many, this past year was a reminder of the importance of connecting with the wild. As our normal routines came to a halt, many sought out the Cape’s coastline for refuge. Behind the scenes, or rather beneath the surface, it is a complex and delicate dance to keep this ecosystem thriving. When one facet is in disarray, the entire dance is off balance.
For the APCC, a central environmental concern is the rapidly declining health of the Cape’s surface waters and their watersheds. In 2019, APCC conducted a comprehensive study, to be updated annually, into the water quality on Cape Cod called “State of the Waters: Cape Cod.” Nearly 50 embayments, or areas where an indentation in the coastline forms a bay where fresh water mixes with salt water and creates an ecologically rich environment, were graded in 2019. 68% of them were deemed as having unacceptable water quality. In the 2020 update, just one year later, this percentage of unacceptable water quality increased to 79%. These embayments require immediate nutrient reduction and restoration, and that is where the APCC steps in.
The excess nutrients degrading our waters are due largely in part to poorly treated waste water. Though perhaps not a glamorous public issue, waste water is a vital pillar to our community’s health and sustainability. The Association to Preserve Cape Cod has been acutely aware of the waste water and water quality issue for years, fighting to raise awareness, creating political will to solve the problem, and to create a viable solution to make the solution that was both effective and affordable. Thanks to the foresight of APCC and the hard work of local officials, the Cape Cod Commission and the Cape’s legislative delegation, and many like minded partners, we are now amidst the very beginnings of a roll out for the entire Cape to implement sewage treatment.
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