There’s the Massachusetts that most of its almost 7 million residents know. And then there’s Cape Cod. The thing about Cape Cod is that it has a unique ecosystem quite different from that of the rest of the Commonwealth. The differences include fragile water supplies susceptible to contamination, serious beach erosion and seafood safety challenges. These very real issues raise questions that demand reliable answers and an educated public.
Extension on the Cape & Islands
About Cape Cod and the Islands:
The Cape Cod region of Massachusetts is composed of Barnstable County, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The largest town in the region is Barnstable.
Ticks have a natural antifreeze system that helps them survive cold — even severe cold — weather. "Ticks lying underneath the snow pack could be larvae, nymphs or adults,” said Dr. Stephen Rich, a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “Adults will be active as soon as the snow melts and temps warm,” he said. “Nymphs will follow in late May/June.” (Cape Cod Times 1/13/18)
The release of over 1 million gallons of raw sewage into Nantucket Harbor following a sewer main break on Thursday could cause significant harm to the harbor's ecosystem and shellfish populations, according to a University of Massachusetts Amherst professor of environmental conservation, Timothy Randhir. (Masslive 1/6/18)
Hilary A. Sandler, an extension associate professor of cranberry integrated pest management (IPM) and weed science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been named director of its Cranberry Station in East Wareham after a national search. She will become the sixth director in the 106-year history of the internationally respected center for research and education on a native fruit of Massachusetts.
A subsidized program that allowed Cape Codders to have ticks tested at a university laboratory for a fraction of the cost has exhausted its funding. Residents of Barnstable County now have to pay full price to have ticks evaluated for pathogens at the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Rich at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (Cape Cod Times 6/24/17)
The non-native, exotic chilli thrips (Scirtothrips dorsalis) has been recently confirmed from two samples of damaged Hydrangea spp. foliage from two residential landscapes located in Barnstable County, Mass. submitted to the UMass Plant Diagnostics Laboratory. At this time, this pest has not been detected in nurseries or greenhouses in Massachusetts or on any other host plants. Due to the limited number of samples, the significance of chilli thrips in Massachusetts is not known at this time.
Cranberries are a billion-dollar industry in Massachusetts and employ more than 6,900 people. But the market is getting crowded, and that’s pushing down the price. Wisconsin has been the top grower in North America for years. Quebec has only been growing cranberries for the last 20 years, but it surpassed Massachusetts in its cranberry harvest in 2014. Why hasn’t Massachusetts kept up with Wisconsin and Quebec?
Welcome to the year of the gypsy moth caterpillar. The tiny critters are feasting on leaves and wreaking havoc on trees, mostly oak, but not exclusively. “I would say almost surely this is the largest outbreak we’ve seen since 1981,” said Joe Elkinton, professor of entomology in UMass Amherst’s department of environmental conservation. “This is unprecedented. It’s been 35 years." (Enterprise News 6/28/16)
An article examining the factors that make the West Chop pitch pine tree perfectly suited for Atlantic islands mentions a recent report from the UMass Amherst Center for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment that found last year the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation had found southern pine beetles in traps on Martha’s Vineyard. The department had not, however, observed any signs of infestation or any trees killed by the beetle, the only serious threat facing pitch pines on Martha’s Vineyard.
State funding for free tick testing ran out in June, but now Cape Cod Healthcare is helping scientists continue efforts to track infected deer ticks on the Cape by underwriting the cost of tick testing at UMass through a grant to the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension program.