Cape Cod is famous for its pristine beaches and estuaries, which provide pleasure and sustenance to all who live and visit there. But a dirty secret is lurking behind the beautiful views.
For decades, nutrients from human waste have been seeping out of septic systems and into the groundwater. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus now threaten a majority of Cape Cod’s estuaries, endangering critical ecosystems, the shellfish industry, and tourism-reliant economies.
In revealing portraits of the people affected by nutrient pollution, THE WATERSHED brings this mostly-invisible problem into sharp focus. With input from scientists, aquaculture experts, and local oyster farmers—including an incredible timelapse sequence of oysters filtering algae-laden water— this short documentary offers the natural filtering capacity of shellfish as a partial solution to the problem. Behind the scenes of a unique program run by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, we discover answers that come from people who live according to nature’s principles. But despite the promises of aquaculture, the documentary questions whether it’s too much to ask Mother Nature to solve the problems of over-development.
Elise Hugus & Daniel Cojanu / 2014 / USA / 16 min.
Catalina Island, CA
Member of the Green Film Network
Audience Award for Best Regional Documentary Short
Honorable Mention for Best Regional Documentary Short
Woods Hole, MA