Bartlett Pond, a 33 acre pond in Plymouth that flows into Cape Cod Bay, is another Massachusetts water body suffering from a toxic cyanobacteria algal bloom this summer. What makes this pond different than the multitudes of other with a visible pea-soups sludge of blue-green algae is that in Bartlett, the cyanobacteria isn’t visible. The chroococcus species of algae flourishes in ecosystems with excess nitrogen, “more than likely from the septic systems from surrounding homes leaching into Bartlett Pond,” according to Plymouth Public Health Director Dr. Nate Horwitz-Willis.
Rotting fish float just beneath the surface, suffocated by a lack of oxygen, which was used up by the algae. On the bottom of the pond, freshwater mussels suffered the same fate, and floated to the surface. While nearby White Horse Beach, which receives outflow from the pond isn’t closed, residents are still being cautioned. As of July 17th Bartlett Pond has been closed, likely for the rest of the summer.