Ongoing Initiatives

Defining Issues of Public Concern for Discussion and Debate: preparing informational materials, sponsoring public forums; and monitoring and working with town agencies to achieve common goals. We express FCW positions at public hearings and town meetings and take such other actions as Directors determine to be necessary to support our mission. We provide information to our members and the public through our newsletter, website, Constant Contact and with articles in local newspapers.


Chatham Water Watchers: In 1998 FCW recruited and trained 150 volunteers to monitor twenty-five stations to collect water quality data and take water samples for nutrient analysis in Pleasant Bay, Stage Harbor and South Coastal embayments. Robert (Dr. Bob) Duncanson, PhD, Director of Natural Resources, provides equipment, lab analysis and data comparisons. Our program helped with state approval for Chatham's Waste Water Management Plan. The program continues, in the future as the Waste Water Management Plan is completed, data will be useful to evaluate changes in water quality. Learn more >


Coastsweep: FCW organizes volunteers for an annual beach cleanup program that is associated with a worldwide program. 2019 was our 22th year of collecting debris from Pleasant Bay, Stage Harbor and South Coastal beaches. Learn more >


Herring Run Volunteers: In coordination with the town we provide volunteers for a yearly spring Cape-wide herring run count. Chatham's herring run begins at Ryder's Cove and ends in Lover's Lake. Data is used to determine the health of the herring population.


Lewis E. Kimball Scholarships for Environmental Studies: Initiated in 2007 this program has awarded scholarships to twenty five recipients. Three thousand dollar scholarship recipients must meet the criteria spelled out on our web site. www.chathamwaterways.org. Recipients are students entering their junior year undergraduate degree or those who are enrolled in masters or doctorate programs. Learn more >


Captain's Award: This prestigious award is given to an individual who has contributed outstanding accomplishments to protect and preserve Chatham's vital environmental resources. Recipients are listed on our web site. Learn more >

Chatham Acts On Climate:  Full Video

Pond Study Group: FCW Directors established the Pond Study sub-committee in 2012 to initiate the study and protection of Chatham’s freshwater ponds. The Group implemented a program to collect important data from several ponds and to educate the public about the importance of ponds and how to keep them healthy. Since 2015 we have tested Barclay, Emery, Lovers, Schoolhouse, Stillwater, and White ponds. Volunteers collect data on turbidity, dissolved oxygen levels, and temperature. In 2018 a second testing program was initiated—collecting water samples from five ponds to test for the presence of cyanobacteria. The goal of this program is to identify any potential toxicity before it becomes a public health matter. These programs are run in coordination with the town's Department of Natural Resources. Learn more >


Barbara Streibert Environmental Education Grant Program: FCW has awarded grants yearly since 2010. Teachers in the Monomoy Regional School District receive notice of the availability of these helpful grants. Teachers in the humanities and science disciplines are awarded funds for special projects that would not take place otherwise. Directors oversee this program, where up to $4000 may be awarded per year. We believe the program instills student appreciation of Cape Cod's unique environment. Learn more >

Historic Accomplishments

  • FCW spearheaded a Town Meeting vote to purchase the Old Mill Boat Yard which became the Harbor Master's Office in Stage Harbor.
  • FCW purchased the first water testing equipment for use in Stage Harbor.
  • From 1985 to 1994, FCW Directors were the principal financial resource for and editors of a Stage Harbor Management Plan. It was approved by the town and state and became a model for many other small seaside towns in the state. A Boston booklet “How to Write a Harbor Plan” was used by Directors to write what became the second Harbor Management Plan in the state.
  • FCW lobbied the town to apply for a Federal designation ‘No Discharge Area’ in Stage Harbor.
  • FCW lobbied the town to purchase the town’s first portable boat pump-out equipment.
  • FCW lobbied for the removal of a decommissioned Coast Guard Boat House’s marine railway dock off Stage Harbor that was blocking shell fish beds and interfering with navigation.
  • FCW Drafted Chatham’s mandatory sewage disposal system inspection regulation applicable at the time of real estate transfers. Work on the project took from 1983 to 1985, it became another first and a model for other communities on Cape Cod.
  • FCW sponsored the Quality of Life Seminar in 1998 attended by more than 200 local residents and officials. The theme was what needed to be protected and what were the challenges.
  • FCW members contributed to the drafting of the 2003 Chatham Comprehensive Plan.
  • FCW worked with the town’s Board of Health to draft and lobby the adoption of Chatham Fertilizer Regulations, specifying the type, amount and timing of fertilizer application.
  • FCW wrote and sponsored Article II, a Water and Sewer Regulation, adopted by 2005 Town Meeting to assure that properties could produce the same amount, but not more, sewage flow once connected to the sewer than before when on a septic system. This was amended by the 2015 Town Meeting in opposition to FCW efforts to preserve its intent.
  • FCW recruited and trained volunteers who profiled beaches for three years at the request of Ted Keon, Chatham’s Coastal Resources Director. The work was accomplished in coordination with the Center for Coastal Resources in Provincetown.
  • FCW established an Environmental Garden at Oyster Pond in 1996 as an example for native plants that can be grown locally that require no fertilizer or watering. The garden is currently being tended by the Chatham Garden Club.