2020 Year in Review
A Message from President & CEO, Audra Parker
This year more than ever, many of us will continue to enjoy Nantucket Sound into the cooler months. Seasonal changes in avian and marine life highlight the significance of this natural resource, and the slower rhythm of life allows us to reflect on the importance of preserving special places. Nantucket Sound’s beauty, abundant wildlife, rich history, and strong economic contribution to the region make it one of the most treasured marine ecosystems in the country. It is no wonder that millions of people flock to the shorelines of the Sound every year to seek solace, experience its beauty, and make lasting memories.
The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound is committed to preserving this unique body of water in perpetuity. To do so, we are seeking enactment of federal legislation to permanently protect Nantucket Sound, partnering with a diverse group of stakeholders to build a coalition of support, and promoting Nantucket Sound and the many extraordinary values that make it worthy of preservation through a new educational program. Our proposed legislation, the Nantucket Sound National Historic Landmark Act, will accomplish three important goals. First, the bill will formally recognize the Sound’s rich maritime and tribal history. It will impart the highest level of historic protection possible by designating the Sound as a National Historic Landmark, the same designation enjoyed today by the island of Nantucket, the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, and Wesleyan Grove on Martha’s Vineyard.
Second, the bill will prohibit federal approval of any industrial development inconsistent with existing safeguards under state law. While the waters which extend three miles from the shorelines of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket are protected by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the waters in the center of the Sound are under federal jurisdiction and open to development. Enactment of the Nantucket Sound National Historic Landmark Act will provide long-term protection for the entirety of Nantucket Sound. Finally, this forward-thinking bill will preserve the Sound by addressing threats to water quality, coastal erosion, and habitat degradation. The proposed legislation requires a formal evaluation of potential climate impacts as well as recommendations to improve Nantucket Sound’s health and resilience to these impacts. Please read on for more information about the bill, our supporters, and our educational initiative.
We have made great strides toward enactment of federal legislation thanks to the generosity of donors like you. But we need your help now more than ever to secure permanent protection for Nantucket Sound. Would you please make a tax-deductible donation today to help us leave a legacy for generations to come? Nantucket Sound won’t stay a national treasure without your support!
We are grateful to the thousands of generous donors who support the Alliance’s mission to secure permanent protection for Nantucket Sound. Our donors come from Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket and value the beauty, habitat, and history of Nantucket Sound.
John “Whip” Filoon, Hyannis Port
“I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend a part of every year of my life on Cape Cod. I am continually thankful for the tremendous job the Alliance has accomplished to preserve the beautiful waters of Nantucket Sound. I am hopeful that permanent protection and historic designation will soon be in place.”
Susan and David Kelly, Osterville
“Nantucket Sound appeals to beach goers, boaters, nature lovers, and fishermen. What better way is there to show that we love this amazing resource than by passing it on to our grandchildren in better shape than we found it?”
George Morgan, Chilmark
“I have been supporting the Alliance for the past ten years because Nantucket Sound is a special body of water that I care about deeply. Long term preservation of the Sound is very important to me, my family, and future generations.”
Joan O’Connor, Osterville
“We have supported the Alliance since 2003. My family has been coming to Cape Cod for over 50 years, and we are still making memories here today. Nantucket Sound is a special place that belongs to all of us and should be protected for our children and grandchildren.”
Jackie and Bill Kupper, Nantucket
“Living on an island, the Sound is an important part of our life. It is our recreation space for swimming, boating, bird watching, and fishing. It is the perfect painting of tranquility captured forever in our mind’s eye.”
More than 80 organizations have joined together to send a letter urging our congressional delegation in D.C. to enact the Nantucket Sound National Historic Landmark Act. This diverse group of local, state, and national proponents includes municipalities across the Cape and Islands, tribal entities, environmental organizations, commercial fishermen, offshore wind developers, historic preservation groups, maritime businesses, chambers of commerce, and others. The letter affirms the importance of the Sound, stating “Nantucket Sound and its historic, environmental, wildlife and cultural resources are of great importance to the regional economy - supporting commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, marine transportation, aviation, marine trades, and other businesses and industries that are vital to the Cape and Islands.” Further, the letter applauds the bill as “precedent-setting legislation that achieves protection of the many public interest values of an entire marine ecosystem.”
Chuckie Green, Natural Resources Director, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
“I am proud to support the efforts of the Alliance, as our goals are so closely aligned. We are the people of the First Light. Since time immemorial, we have occupied the lands and waters all throughout present-day Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands. These waters represent a spiritual, cultural, and religious connection to our people. Nantucket Sound holds great value for the tribe as a hunter-gatherer culture.”
Wendy Northcross, CEO, Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
“There is only one Nantucket Sound in all the world, and we believe it is a treasure of national significance, deserving of historic landmark status. People from around the world travel here to enjoy time on Nantucket Sound every day.”
Angela Sanfilippo, Executive Director, Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association and Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership
“We, the fishing people of Massachusetts, have a responsibility to promote and protect the rich history and fishing grounds of Nantucket Sound so that we can ensure food security for the people of our nation.”
The Nantucket Sound National Historic Landmark Act will:
- Designate Nantucket Sound as a National Historic Landmark, the highest level of historic protection possible, to recognize the Sound’s exceptional history.
- Prohibit industrial development in the federal waters of Nantucket Sound while protecting traditional uses such as fishing and recreation.
- Preserve Nantucket Sound by addressing future threats such as coastal erosion and water quality degradation.
Our Educational Initiatives
A Celebration of Nantucket Sound (ACONS)
This year, the Alliance launched ACONS, a webinar series that celebrates Nantucket Sound’s history, environment, economic importance, and cultural significance. Each webinar presents a new opportunity to learn about the values that make this national treasure worthy of protection. By connecting renowned field experts to the community, ACONS promotes Nantucket Sound’s identity, supports its preservation, and encourages continued environmental stewardship of this special place. These monthly presentations are filled with research, first-hand experience, and storytelling, followed by an interactive Q&A session.
In September, the Alliance hosted our first ACONS webinar featuring nationally acclaimed lighthouse expert Jeremy D’Entremont discussing the history of Nantucket Sound lighthouses and their keepers. In October, we were joined by Owen Nichols, Director of Marine Fisheries Research at the Center for Coastal Studies, to learn about squid - one of the Sound’s most fascinating creatures. You can check the schedule for upcoming events and view previous webinars at www.saveoursound.org/events.
Discover Nantucket Sound
Because Nantucket Sound connects Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, the Alliance has created a unique digital resource highlighting sites and activities of interest all around the area. Saveoursound.org/discover-nantucket-sound provides information about the many beaches, trails, parks, historic places, and activities on and around Nantucket Sound and encourages residents and visitors alike to learn more about this special body of water through first-hand experience.
Summer 2020 Update
In lieu of hosting our usual summer events this year, the Alliance produced an informative video about our progress in securing permanent protection for Nantucket Sound. This short video includes an update by Audra Parker, aerial footage of the Sound, and photos of our venues and supporters attending prior summer events. We encourage you to watch at saveoursound.org/sos-summer-2020-update