About Pleasant Bay Alliance

In 1987 the Towns of Orleans, Chatham, Harwich and Brewster applied to the Commonwealth to designate Pleasant Bay an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). The Commonwealth’s ACEC designation led the towns to develop a resource management plan for Pleasant Bay and form the Pleasant Bay Alliance to coordinate management activities.

Pleasant Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) Index Map

boat on still water at Pleasant Bay Cape Cod on a summer day


The Pleasant Bay Alliance is a municipal organization formed by the Towns of Orleans, Chatham, Harwich and Brewster to coordinate the resource management plan for the Pleasant Bay ACEC and watershed. The Alliance’s projects, programs and studies promote healthy natural resources and safe public access throughout Pleasant Bay.

Alliance programs encompass technical research, policy analysis, and public outreach in the areas of coastal processes, watershed planning, navigation, fisheries, wetlands protection, and water quality monitoring.

Management Plan and Updates

The Pleasant Bay Resource Management Plan is designed to provide analysis and action steps for coordinated local, regional and state management and permitting activities in Pleasant Bay and the Pleasant Bay watershed.

The plan is based on four guiding principles:


To sustain and, wherever practicable, regenerate the health and productivity of Pleasant Bay’s eco-system;


To encourage recreational, residential, and commercial activity consistent with resource sustainability and public safety;


To enhance opportunities for public access to and enjoyment of Pleasant Bay, in balance with resource sustainability and private property rights; and


To preserve the Bay’s unique character including its natural beauty, tranquility, history and accessibility.
The first Resource Management Plan was developed in 1998, and was adopted by the Alliance towns and the Commonwealth. Periodically, the Alliance updates the resource management plan and submits it to the four towns and the Commonwealth for approval.

Committee Members

The Alliance is governed by a Memorandum of Agreement signed by the four participating towns. The Memorandum establishes a Steering Committee to provide policy oversight and governance, and a Technical Advisory Committee to advise the Steering Committee. Appointments to the Steering and Technical Resource Committees are made by the Boards of Selectmen in the four participating towns. A coordinator is hired by the Steering Committee to manage the Alliance’s projects and activities.

The Alliance has formed work groups to assist the Steering and Technical Resource Committees with programs and projects in the following areas:




Water Quality

Work groups include Steering and Technical Resource Committee members, as well as representatives from county and state agencies, research institutions, and citizen groups. Organizations represented in the work groups include: Cape Cod Commission, Woods Hole Sea Grant Program, Barnstable County Cooperative Extension Service, Barnstable County Health and Environment Department, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Center for Coastal Studies, and Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management.

Committee Members

Steering Committee

Allin Thompson, Jr., Harwich, Chair
Fran McClennen, Orleans, Vice Chair
Dee Dee Holt, Chatham, Treasurer
Dorothy (Dolly) Howell, Harwich, Member
Chris Miller, Brewster, Member
Walter North, Orleans, Member

Technical Resource Committee

Robert Duncanson, Director, Natural Resources Department, Town of Chatham, Chair
Renee Gagne, Shellfish Constable, Town of Chatham
John Jannell, Conservation Administrator, Town of Orleans
Theodore Keon, Director, Coastal Resources Department, Town of Chatham
George Meservey, Director, Planning & Community Development, Town of Orleans
Chris Miller, Director, Natural Resources and Shellfish, Town of Brewster
Dan Pelletier, Superintendent, Water and Wastewater, Town of Harwich
Heinz Proft, Natural Resources Officer, Town of Harwich
John Rendon, Harbormaster, Town of Harwich
Nathan Sears, Harbormaster/Shellfish Constable, Town of Orleans
Amy Usowski, Conservation Agent, Town of Harwich


Carole Ridley
Ridley & Associates, Inc.