The Nantucket Land Bank, in partnership with the town’s Sewer Department, is finalizing plans for a major restoration project at Lily Pond Park that could cost almost $5.6 million.
The project would restore 2,500 feet of wetland and construct an additional 1,700 feet of wetland area, which could help reduce flooding and improve water quality in the area. Restoration would also involve removing invasive phragmites and knotweed, which have infiltrated significant portions of the park, as well as installing stormwater treatment units to remove contaminants from stormwater runoff before it reaches endangered wetlands or the harbor.
The Land Bank estimates that these units will remove over 47 pounds of nitrogen—a nutrient often found in fertilizer that can trigger algal growths that choke eel grass and other critical wetland species — from stormwater annually, as well as an almost uncountable number of bacteria colonies.
The project would also add accessible parking and walkway access to the park, as well as a redesigned boardwalk for pedestrians.
“It’s a great project, it’s great that you’re doing it,” Select Board and Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee member Matt Fee said during a presentation at the Committee’s meeting Tuesday.
The Land Bank acquired Lily Pond Park, located off North Liberty Street near downtown Nantucket, in 1986. Mostly wetland, the park is crisscrossed with a network of boardwalks that provide pedestrian access, which the restoration project would also redesign.
Even the most conservative estimates put the cost of the restoration at over $4.7 million, which would be funded in part by the Land Bank. The Land Bank has also submitted a grant request to the Southeast New England Program (SNEP), an Environmental Protection Agency initiative that supports projects aimed at preserving, restoring, and monitoring wetland ecosystems across the Southeast New England watershed. The grant would cover up to $600,000 over five years for the project.
"It's a staggering amount of money," Land Bank Commission member Mark Donato said at a Land Bank meeting earlier this year.
"It's an incredible investment in harbor water quality that’s only going to benefit all the neighbors around it," Land Bank Commission chair Neil Paterson said. "The numbers are large, but that’s the cost of catching shellfish and eating scallops from the harbor."