Open Forum: Protecting Our Land and Waters, March 27, 2024

  Katherine Harrelson 

Event offers residents a forum to discuss concerns, make connections, and gather resources for local action.

On March 27, 2024, Community Land and Water Coalition (CLWC) and Southeastern Massachusetts Pine Barrens Alliance (SEMPBA) co-hosted a public forum about local land and water issues. The goal of the forum was for residents to come together, express their concerns over local drinking water issues, make connections and learn how to take action. Over 100 people were in attendance.

The event was advertised locally by the Plymouth Independent

The forum began with opening remarks by Melissa Harding Ferretti, Chairwoman and President of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe, who asserted her Tribe’s rights to protect their precious natural resources, the land, the water, and Mother Earth. She reminded the audience that her tribe has the human right to be consulted in all matters impacting her Tribe and its rights to be an interested party in all issues relating to Wampanoag historical sites connected to her Tribe, and Native American historical sites related to the King Phillips War. She spoke about her Tribe’s ongoing work to recover their historical homelands, and reminded the audience that they are still the same Tribe. She also spoke about the universal truth that the land doesn’t belong to us, but we belong to the land.

Speakers from both CLWC and SEMPBA spoke about the nature of the aquifer and the abundance of rare wildlife on coastal plains ponds. However, the main content of the forum was a chance for people to speak about the issues concerning them most over their water. Concerns expressed by residents ranged from cyanobacteria, to sand mining, to over development, to deforestation, to overuse of water for lawns, declines in water quality and quantity. Some residents questioned whether our Towns were equipped to handle the challenges posed to our greatest natural resource.

Meg Sheehan, environmental attorney with CLCW, spoke about the structure of Town government and what residents can do to get involved in local governing decisions over their natural resources.

Wareham resident Kathy Pappalardo emphasized to the crowd to “get involved,” “don’t give up,” and “talk to your neighbors.” She said that water unites us all and we all need it, it is precious and getting more precious. 

Watch the full recording of the forum here.

Read the slide presentation from the forum:

At the event, participants were provided with a list of resources they could access to find out more about getting involved in water management and community planning:


Overview on Community Planning and Conservation:

Local Government Bodies & What They Do

  • Planning Board: permits and approvals for development projects
  • Conservation Commission: Wetlands permits and enforcement
  • Earth removal permits:
  • Carver: Earth Removal Committee, Building Inspector
  • Plymouth: Zoning Board of Appeals, Building Inspector
  • Wareham: Select Board, Building Inspector
  • Kingston: Select Board, Building Inspector
  • Board of Health: air, noise, dust, water pollution

Resources about the Aquifer and Our Drinking Water

Climate change impacts:

Reporting Environmental Violations

State and Local Government Accountability and Transparency

Read our press release for the event here:

1 thought on “Open Forum: Protecting Our Land and Waters, March 27, 2024

  1. you do such good, inspirational work!

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