Martha's Vineyard Commission

Adam Turner Takes the Helm

Adam Turner

On August 1, Adam Turner took over as Executive Director of the Martha's Vineyard Commission. For the past seven years, Adam has been Town Planner in Colchester, Connecticut, where he has worked on land use regulations and zoning, among other initiatives. Earlier in his thirty-year professional career, his experience includes coastal management work in island environments such as the Florida Keys and Northern Marianas. (Here is his resume.) He can be contacted at turner [at], or at 508-693-3453 x11. 

Mark London will be working through to the end of August as Executive Director Emeritus, assisting Adam in assuming his new responsibilities. He can be contacted at london [at] or at 508-693-3453 x14.

Looking at the Commission

After Mark London took over as Executive Director of the Martha's Vineyard Commission, he prepared a report entitled “Looking at the Commission: Review of the Operations of the Martha's Vineyard Commission and Recommendations for Improvements.” It contained 11 general recommendations, 38 specific recommendations, and a total of 131 short-term, medium-term, and long-term actions to achieve them.

Now, he took up the suggestion of a local newspaper editorial to look back at each of the general and specific recommendations of the 2003 report and describe what actions were taken since then to achieve them, as a way to document the achievements of the past thirteen years. It is called "Looking at the Commission: Follow-Up 2015".

A Busy Summer of Water Sampling

MVC Water Resource Planner Sheri Caseau, with the help of intern George Smith, are sampling the water quality of some of our coastal ponds again this year. They are sampling Tashmoo, Tisbury Great, Edgartown Great, Lagoon, Sengekontacket, Farm, and Chilmark Ponds. Some of this sampling is carried out in conjunction with the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown as a part of their pharmaceutical and nitrogen-enriched groundwater study of Nantucket Sound and the coastal ponds. Sampling occurs in most of the ponds every two weeks from June to September, then will occur monthly for the rest of the year. Stay tuned in the months to come for a summary of the data collected and the report on the health of our ponds. 

For further information, please contact Sheri Caseau, MVC Water Resources Planner, at caseau [at]

MVC Welcomes Three Summer Interns

The Martha's Vineyard Commission is pleased to have three interns for the summer season, chosen from dozens of applicants. 
  • Water Resource and Coastal Planning intern George Smith (left) is currently a senior at State University of New York Environmental Science and Forestry working on his bachelor's degree in Environmental Science with a minor in marine sciences and a focus in watershed management and ecology. He is working on variety of projects such as the summer program of water quality testing, the monitoring of sea-level rise in wetlands, and outreach related to water quality issues.
  • We have two Transportation Interns this summer. Brian Raymond (right), from Wilbraham, is a senior Regional Planning major at Westfield State University. Willie Simon (middle), from Chilmark, is entering his senior year studying Planning and Urban Affairs at Boston University. Brian and Willie are working mostly on data collection including traffic counts, sidewalk assessments, and pedestrian and bicycle activity.  

Wetland Elevation Monitoring Program

MVC Coastal Planner Jo-Ann Taylor (left in photo) has set up the first pilot monitoring station in what we hope will be an Island-Wide Wetland Elevation Monitoring Program. It was set up at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary on Sengekontacket Pond. Felix Neck Executive Director Suzan Bellencampi is to the right in the photo. The aim is to ascertain how successfully wetlands respond to sea-level rise by measuring the gain in elevation.  This is the first in a series of permanent installations of monitoring rods that will be installed in monitoring stations around the Island. The equipment allows for measuring the wetland elevations at each of these locations, generally on at least an annual basis, with an instrument known as Rod-SET survey armature.

It will help develop understanding of what conditions allow healthy wetlands to gain elevation through growth, and to look at alternative ways to preserve wetlands where this is not possible, such as by protecting upland areas to allow the wetlands to migrate over time.The first Rod-SET installation was funded by the Friends of Sengekontacket and the site hosted by Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.  Purchase of the monitoring head to take the measurements around the Island was funded by the Edey Foundation. 

For more information, contact Jo-Ann Taylor, MVC Coastal Planner, at taylor [at]


MVC Carrying Out Inventories of Downtown Sidewalks

MVC Senior Transportation Planner Priscilla Leclerc and interns Brian Raymond and Willie Simon, are carrying out inventories and assessments of downtown Vineyard sidewalks. This is part of the Commission's and Commonwealth's effort to promote healthy transportation by ensuring that the infrastructure for pedestrian and bicycle movement is complete and in as good condition as possible.

The assessment of downtown Edgartown sidewalks data collection was completed in June. This included information about sidewalk physical characteristics - width, sample sidewalk slopes, presence of obstacles, etc. - and related traffic volumes, along with samples of bicycle-pedestrian activity and intersection counts. The location and sidewalk attribute data was collected with a GPS unit and entered into a data entry form created by Chris Seidel, MVC GIS Coordinator. Photographs and sample slope data were collected with the MVC IPad and a clinometer app.

MVC staff will next review the report with Town of Edgartown staff, and a report on the Edgartown sidewalks will be available later in this summer. The MVC hopes to also complete sidewalk inventories in downtown Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, Tisbury in the future.

For more information, contact Priscilla Leclerc, MVC Senior Transportation Planner, at leclerc [at]

Martha's Vineyard Transportation Documents Approved


On July 16, 2015, the Martha's Vineyard Commission approved three transportation documents. (Note: The links below are to the final, endorsed versions of the documents.)

  • Martha's Vineyard Transportation Plan: The Island’s long-range transportation plan sets goals and strategies, and works within estimated federal and state funding to establish priorities for improvements to the Island transportation systems. All travel modes are covered: air, water, roads, bus, taxi, bicycle, and walking. It was prepared in collaboration with citizens, towns, the VTA, and others.  Here are the results of the MVTP Transportation Survey carried out in conjunction with this planning process. 
  • Transportation Improvement Program (TIP): The TIP is the short-range program of transportation projects or programs to be implemented in the next four years (based on the federal fiscal year of October 1 to September 30).  It is similar to a local Capital Improvement Program in that it specifies the transportation projects to be advertised for construction and bus purchases or services to be carried out in the next year within the estimated federal and state funds for the Martha’s Vineyard region. All transportation projects funded by federal and state agencies must be included. The list is constrained by available funding sources and must satisfy air quality conformity guidelines.
  • Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP): The UPWP is a contractual agreement that outlines transportation planning activities to be undertaken by the Commission with funding from federal and state agencies for the federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) It describes the activities to be performed by MVC staff for the Island transportation system such as data collection, studies, mapping, etc. It is produced annually.

For further information, please contact Priscilla Leclerc, MVC Senior Transportation Planner, via email at leclerc [at]

Retirement Celebration for Mark London

The MVC will host a gathering to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions Mark London has made to the Island during his 13 year tenure as Executive Director. When: Sunday, August 16, 2015. Time: 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Location: Sailing Camp Park, 177 Barnes Road, Oak Bluffs. Light refreshments and appetizers will be available. Parking is limited; please carpool with a friend. 

Please confirm your attendance, or should you have any questions by email to: [email protected] or by calling Donna Stewart at 508-693-3453, x10.

Office location:

Office location:

The Stone Building
33 New York Avenue
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Telephone: 508-693-3453
Fax: 508-693-7894

Mailing Address

Mailing address:

Martha's Vineyard Commission
P.O. Box 1447
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

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