Assessment of Potential Effects of Water-Supply Withdrawals on Groundwater Levels near the Hyannis Ponds Complex, Barnstable, Massachusetts

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The USGS, in cooperation with the Town of Barnstable and MassWildlife, is assessing the potential effects of new water-supply withdrawals on groundwater levels in the Hyannis Ponds Wildlife Management Area on Cape Cod. A groundwater-flow model is being used to simulate the effects of several possible withdrawal and wastewater-return flow scenarios developed by the Town of Barnstable and MassWildlife on the groundwater-flow system.

Location of Hyannis ponds Wildlife Management Area and Town of Barnstable production wells, Cape Cod, MA

Location of Hyannis Ponds Wildlife Management Area and nearby Town of Barnstable production wells, Cape Cod, MA

    The Hyannis Pond complex in Barnstable, Massachusetts, consists of several shallow kettle ponds that support unique and globally rare pond-shore plant communities adapted to the natural magnitude and timing of water-level fluctuations (the hydroperiod) that lead to periodic inundation and exposure of the shoreline. The pond complex lies within the Hyannis Ponds Wildlife Management Area managed by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife). This area was acquired primarily to protect the rare pond-shore communities. The pond complex is also near existing production wells for the Towns of Barnstable and Yarmouth, and withdrawals from these wells currently affect groundwater levels in the area compared to historical, predevelopment levels (Walter and Whealan, 2005).

Shoreline of Mary Dunn Pond, Barnstable, MA

Shoreline of Mary Dunn Pond, Barnstable, MA

    The Town of Barnstable is evaluating options for developing new groundwater supplies to meet current and future needs for potable drinking water for Hyannis village, which is served by the Water Supply Division of the Barnstable Department of Public Works. The area near the Hyannis Ponds complex is one of several areas in the Town that are under consideration for water-supply development because of perceived favorable hydrogeologic conditions and land-use patterns. The protected status of the land around the pond complex and lack of industrial development in potential contributing areas to production wells are favorable for developing clean water supplies, but concerns have been raised regarding potential effects of new pumping patterns on sensitive pond-shore habitat.  To evaluate potential effects of groundwater withdrawals on the Hyannis Ponds complex, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with MassWildlife and the Town of Barnstable, is conducting simulations of the groundwater flow system with a previously published, calibrated groundwater flow model for selected groundwater withdrawal and wastewater-return flow scenarios. 

    

    To evaluate potential effects of groundwater withdrawals on the Hyannis Ponds complex, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with MassWildlife and the Town of Barnstable, conducted simulations of the groundwater flow system with a previously published, calibrated groundwater flow model for selected groundwater withdrawal and wastewater-return flow scenarios. 

    The study was initiated in 2018 and completed in 2019 with the publication of a USGS Scientific Investigation Report (LeBlanc and others, 2019) describing the results of the groundwater flow simulations.