MRECo setting up monitoring system in Cape Cod Canal

Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative (MRECo) and Coastal Ocean Vision, president, Dr. Scott Gallager will install the next generation continuous particle imaging classification system CPICS on the Bourne Tidal Test Site structure.


Weather permitting, the installation should take place on Tuesday, 1 September.

The system will take samples of the water to identify, quantify and characterize species of phytoplankton and zooplankton and possible microplastics that are flowing through the canal.

Once installed, the sensor will be on the test structure for up to a year.

The gathered data at the BTTS will transmit in near real time, and also be available on the Coastal Ocean Vision website.

The Bourne Test Site provides an accessible but secure site for testing sensors.

The Blue Economy, from aquaculture to offshore wind turbines, is dependent on a wide variety of sensors to operate efficiently in the ocean’s harsh environment and to ensure environmental impacts are minimized.

Currently, Representative David Vieira and the Falmouth Economic Industrial and Development Corporation are assisting in securing funding to upgrade the site to provide broadband from OpenCape to allow testing of multiple sensors continuously.

The Project

Specifically, this installation is part of a project that Gallager has to quantify and characterize plankton community structure at the BTTS and to track microplastics coming from the Deer Island Sewerage Treatment plant located in Boston Harbor as they transit the canal and make their way into Buzzards Bay.

NOAA Sea Grant is funding the project to better understand the retention efficiency of microplastics by waste water treatment facilities. An added bonus is that the sensor will be able to detect and classify Harmful Algal Bloom Species that cause the red tide.

This project has been delayed significantly due to the fact that MRECo has not had access to broadband data communications at the BTTS.

However, now there is better access via a low-power, high-speed WiFi/cellular data transmission system developed by piRShared, a Buzzards Bay high-tech startup company.