At the meeting, held at Kingman Yacht Center’s Chart Room restaurant, Coalition President Mark Rasmussen highlighted accomplishments over the past year to reduce nitrogen pollution, conserve land, and engage the community in outdoor recreation. These include the approval of a nitrogen pollution cleanup plan for the Westport Rivers, the protection of land around Allens Pond and in the Mattapoisett River Valley, and progress to create an on-the-water exploration center on Onset Bay.
Another accomplishment to reduce nitrogen pollution is taking place right at Kingman Yacht Center, which has built a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant to serve the marina, the restaurant, and a new neighboring residential development. Kingman voluntarily sized the new wastewater system to accommodate up to 50 additional homes in the adjacent Cedar Point neighborhood, which could remove up to 2,000 pounds of nitrogen each year to Red Brook Harbor.
But the meeting’s real celebration was the presentation of the Buzzards Bay Guardian Award and the Volunteer of the Year award. The Guardian Award is the highest honor given by the Coalition. Buzzards Bay Guardians have demonstrated outstanding service in the cleanup, restoration, or protection of the Bay. Most importantly, Guardians are unsung heroes who deserve public recognition, not only for what they have achieved but to inspire others to make a difference.
This year, the Coalition presented a Guardian award to David Pincumbe, who retired this month following a 35-year career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Pincumbe was a driving force behind wastewater improvements in Buzzards Bay; his work led to dramatic reductions in pollution from the New Bedford and Wareham wastewater treatment plants, and he was a strong advocate for nitrogen reductions in all Bay discharges.
In addition to the Guardian Award, the Coalition also recognized Gayle Whittle of Wareham as Volunteer of the Year. A retired teacher, Whittle began volunteering in 2015 at the Richard C. Wheeler Bay Learning Center and quickly took up other volunteer responsibilities, including land stewardship, outdoor programming, and Baywatchers water quality monitoring. She also leads a team of volunteers in the food tent at the Buzzards Bay Swim.