All meetings in Wellfleet are remote only and can be watched online. Go to wellfleet-ma.gov and click on the meeting you want to watch, then follow the instructions on the agenda.
Friday, Sept. 17
- Shellfish Advisory Board, 10 a.m.
- 95 Lawrence Rd. Task Force, 10 a.m.
Monday, Sept. 20
- Affordable Housing Trust, 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 21
- Board of Health, Conservation Commission, and Wastewater Committee discussion of enhanced systems and regulations, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 22
- Wellfleet Environmental Protection Draft Regulations Review, 2 p.m.
Thursday, Sept 23
- Zoning Board of Appeals, 7 p.m.
How Green Is Green?
The sixth item on the agenda for the cemetery commission meeting on Sept. 10 was the latest draft of “Green Burial Guidelines.” According to Nancy Vail, the Wellfleet assessor and a cemetery commissioner, the implicit question that animated the discussion was “how green is green?”
In the 1970s, she explained, concrete burial vaults designed to protect the casket were not required. When was that requirement put in and why?
In order to facilitate green burials, which are defined in the current Wellfleet Cemetery Rules and Regulations as “a burial that allows the body to decompose naturally, returning all elements to the earth through environmentally sound practices,” must a separate section of the cemetery be set aside, or can green graves be interspersed among vaulted graves? Are grave markers compatible with green burial? If so, must they be flush with the ground or can they be raised?
What kind of decorations, if any, are permissible? Must every decoration be absolutely biodegradable, or can there be a system of regular maintenance that removes decorations after, for instance, an annual family commemoration?
In order to resolve such questions through the development of comprehensive guidelines, green burials will be the only item on the commission’s Sept. 30 agenda.
Future (Shellfish) Farmers
As Shellfish Constable Nancy Civetta explains it, the usual way for a prospective shellfish farmer to get a grant is to apprentice to an experienced grant holder, then take over when the older shellfisherman retires.
There are regulations about who can be assigned a grant, but not every grant transfer looks the same.
At the select board meeting on Sept. 14, the addition of James Mulpeter to two grant licenses held by Jim O’Connell was on the agenda. Civetta recommended the transfer, writing that the combination of mentorship and apprenticeship in O’Connell’s and Mulpeter’s case was a “fine example of bringing the next generation of shellfish farmer into our community.”
Mulpeter apprenticed for O’Connell while at Union College, then earned a master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island in environmental management, and has been an apprentice with O’Connell since.
“James demonstrates a deep knowledge of and respect for the environment,” O’Connell wrote in support of the addition of Mulpeter to his grant license.
This combination of traditional practice with comprehensive environmental knowledge in young grant applicants is one reason Civetta said she is optimistic about the future of the shellfish industry in Wellfleet. —Tom Recchio