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It’s a gusty, humid day in late July, and ten middle schoolers are waiting eagerly on a floating dock off Burgess Point in Onset as instructors from the New Bedford Community Boating Center (CBC) help them to rig two small sailboats. The wind is strong, sending clouds scudding rapidly by overhead. But when senior instructor Erik Reuther asks if the group would rather take a short trip to Wickets Island to keep out of the wind, the kids overwhelmingly vote for the opposite: “We want to sail!”

Last year, 20 homeowners around West Falmouth Harbor signed up to upgrade their septic systems or cesspools to nitrogen-reducing technology as part of a demonstration project led by the Coalition and the town of Falmouth. These 20 upgraded systems are already reducing nitrogen by at least 78% – making a difference to help speed up the harbor’s recovery.