Herring River Restoration Project

By the end of 2007, the Herring River Technical Committee had completed its task of producing a Conceptual Restoration Plan and creating a second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU II) which linked the participants in the restoration planning process. A new committee, the HERRING RIVER RESTORATION COMMITTEE was also created by the MOU II. The Towns of Wellfleet and Truro, and the Cape Cod National Seashore were referred to as Entities, with their representatives carrying veto power. Four participating agencies necessary for restoration planning were referred to as Cooperating Agencies: USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service; MA Coastal Zone Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Wetlands Restoration Program. These representatives will work together, by consensus, to plan the proposed restoration.





I. Update on Hydrodynamic modeling Kirk Busman Woods hole group II. Discussion of tasks for EIS Phase 2 contract III. Planning for First Public Scoping Meeting, August 14 IV. Review of revised CYCC Grading plans, Louis Berger Group V. Update on NEPA/ MEPA filings VI. Discussion of 6/24/08 MA Historic Commission response letter VII. Update on Friends of Herring River organizing VIII. New business IX. Next meeting

Previous Agenda

Herring River Restoration Committee

May 21, 2008


I. Status of Hydrodynamic Modeling

II. Status of NOI filing for NEPA

A. Project Notification Form for historical and archaeological review

III Status of Special Project Review for MEPA

IV Status of planning for public scoping sessions this summer

V Status of Berger work

VI. Out come Of CYCC charrette A. formation of smaller working group with CYCC B. Formation of Third Party group

VII. Discussion of ACOE involvement in project

VIII adjourn

Most Recent Minutes of the Herring River Restoration Committee

Minutes of Herring River Restoration Committee CCNS Headquarters 3 April 2008 Members attending: Gary Joseph, Chairman (Wellfleet), Eric Derleth (US FWS), Charleen Greenhalgh (Truro), Steve Spear (NRCS), Steve Block (NOAA), Tim Smith (MCZM-MWRP), John Portnoy (CCNS) Others attending: Carrie Phillips (CCNS), Davis McGowan (DCR), Helen M. Wilson, John Riehl. Craig Wood, Spence Smith and Chris Gajeski represented The Berger Group. Minutes of the 21 February meeting were accepted unanimously after correcting the meeting location to Seashore Headquarters. A charrette at the Chequesset Yacht and Country Club is planned for 7 May from 10 AM to 3 PM to brainstorm alternatives to fund golf-course relocation out of the Herring River flood plain. The HRRC discussed whom should attend. John Riehl suggested that Ivan Ace, a CYCC member and past Friend of CCNS, be invited. A new option of filling existing fairways, instead of relocating them, was discussed. One benefit is that this plan preserves the CYCC undeveloped land, a valuable asset; however, it may be premature to include this option in the 7 May meeting. Phillips noted that the fill alternative will have to be considered in the EIS/EIR, but the charrette should focus on relocation, with filling only considered with respect to potential limits of funding. Derleth and Joseph agreed. Spear and Riehl suggested that we need to reconsider diking off Mill Creek, if all else fails to relocate the golf fairways. McGowan went over the CYCC charrette agenda, which will end with the identification of specific tasks and due dates. We discussed the "Yellow-book" appraisal of the 25-acre CYCC property, at only $400,000, much less than the anticipated $2.4-million value that led Wellfleet voters to promise a $1.2-million contribution from the Land Bank. Fate of the $1.2 million is now uncertain, but Joseph will follow up with Assistant Town Administrator Peterson. Greenhalgh suggested that the HRRC seek clarification from the town attorney on whether these funds can be re-authorized for use on some other aspect of the project. It was moved (Derleth), seconded (Block) and unanimously voted that the Chair write to Wellfleet administration requesting information regarding future use of the $1.2 million. Portnoy will draft some specific questions for HRRC review. Hydrodynamic modeling by the Woods Hole Group continues per their contract with some delays, per T. Smith. The HRRC discussed and rejected the idea of experimentally opening the dike's single sluice gate for model calibration. SERO regulatory meeting, 6 March. T. Smith presented the project. We received good support from all of the regulatory agencies. G. Joseph requested preparation of a brief presentation on project objectives, scope and progress for public programs. Portnoy will put this together and forward to the HRRC for comment. NOI and scoping for NEPA. Phillips expects it will take 6-12 weeks to get it published in the Federal Register after leaving the Park. EIS public scoping is planned for 2 PM on 14 August, including State MEPA, and at 7 PM on 24 September, both at the Wellfleet Senior Center. The comment period will be 60 days. Portnoy will check with the Cape Cod Commission on whether they are required to hold public scoping for a DRI, and, if so, whether they want to combine theirs with ours. Berger Group. Craig Wood, Spence Smith and Chris Gajeski represented Berger. They will provide their meeting notes from today. The HRRC gave Wood permission to contact Lindsay Gillham, project manager for EIS preparation under NPS funding, directly with questions, but asked that the Committee be copied on all correspondence. S. Smith noted that Berger will keep its own administrative record of their involvement of the project; this record is a deliverable at the end of the project. Re the towns' administrative record, H. Wilson noted that the HRRC is accountable to both Truro and Wellfleet for minutes and any emails pertinent to decision-making. Points of contact for Berger will be C. Phillips for NEPA and T. Smith for MEPA. We went over Berger's schedule. It was noted that Chapter 1 of the EIS requires input from public scoping, so it cannot be completed by Berger under the current contract schedule. The HRRC will look over examples of style and structure for Chapter 1 and provide Berger with a model to follow. A draft outline for this chapter, including project purpose, need, objectives and impact topics, is being routed for HRRC review by Portnoy, for transmittal asap to Berger. Wood urged that we begin contact with Mass. Historical Commission soon for MEPA, and after the NOI is published for NEPA; he will have Berger's archaeologist contact MHC. S. Spear said to include the Wampanoag, typically at time of public scoping. Berger will notify MNHESP, although prior meetings of this office with HRRC members, and at the 6 March SERO meeting, were noted. Wood advised that restoration of tides would increase the FEMA 100-year flood elevation upstream of the dike; however, it was noted that effects should be limited to already existing wetlands. This issue needs to be addressed in the EIS/EIR. The MWRP has asked Berger to prepare a proposal for the assessment of filling low fairways in the CYCC, recognizing that this alternative must be considered in the EIS/EIR. Spear suggested that fill volumes be computed for each 1-foot increment in final elevation. Our next meeting is planned for 10 AM on 21 May at Wellfleet Senior Center. Respectfully submitted, John Portnoy

Acidification and Oyster Mortality


Acidification and Oyster Mortality

Image courtesy of Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group

Image courtesy of Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group

Rising pH Levels Linked to Increased Spat Mortality. Economic, Ecological and Social Impacts on West Coast Oyster Industry

Ocean acidification is a present and future threat to a variety of ecosystems and biological processes (detailed in the OCEAN 30 issue by Safe Harbor), and one of the more recent and publicized victims of global warming is the oyster industry of the United States’ West Coast.

The oceans act like carbon sinks, and anthropogenic fossil fuel emissions have caused seawater to be 30% more acidic than pre-industrial times on a logarithmic scale. The eastern Pacific of the United States is particularly vulnerable to this decrease in pH because it already experiences deep upwelling and therefore inherently encounters more extreme acidic conditions more often. The driving force for the oyster farm failures along this shoreline is the inability for young oysters (known as spat) to develop successfully. The oysters are most vulnerable when young and just forming their calcium carbonate shells. This failure to thrive is due to a combination of extra energy required to form a shell (due to lack of necessary ions in the water now bound by acidic molecules) and possibly even dissipation of the fragile shells themselves.

Seed production in the Pacific Northwest plummeted 80% between 2005- 2009, with majority of the larvae dying within merely 2 days. To put into perspective how problematic this is the shellfish industry in this region contribute more than $250 million dollars to the economy annually and provides jobs for over 3,000 individuals. Parallel studies have started on the East Coast comparing conditions and bracing for future ocean acidification catastrophes. New Bedford, Massachusetts, is a major American port with shellfishing making up over 70% of its productivity, so job losses and community demographics would irreparably change for the worse if it is subjected to the consequences of ocean acidification like the Northwest Pacific has.

There has been much active research studying the mechanisms of spat failures and possible ways to rectify this problem both short and long term.  One example is Bodega Bay Marine Lab of UC-Davis working with Hog Island Oyster Company based in Tomales Bay, California. Hog Island raises their oyster spat in different water conditions in order to see the effects of various water quality scenarios, including excessive rain, water run-off, on the seed. The seawater of these tanks can be modified in real time if shell degradation is observed and documented for future hatcheries. Bodega Bay Marine Lab in turn records these fine scale aquatic changes in real time. It models how projected increased acidity will affect oysters and other shellfish in 10, 50 and 100 years in the future, and also how possible adaptations to counteract these caustic circumstances could help or hurt the oyster harvests.

Many of these susceptible oyster farms in the Pacific Northwest are multi-generational, family run companies who have to quickly troubleshoot this regional (and imminently global) disaster by changing techniques, importing spat, and monitoring water chemistry in order to adapt. One family, the Taylors of Shelton, Washington, have a separate oyster hatchery prior to planting in the Puget Sound. Hatcheries have been forced to incessantly monitor the incoming seawater acidity and either shut down flow is the water is too corrosive or add seagrass or sodium carbonate to help neutralize it more. This is a drastic change of how these companies have done things historically, but these alterations are a necessity in order to adapt to the changing seawater.

This, however, is just a stop gap. Models predict that corrosive water will be more prevalent at the sea surface and ubiquitous, up to 150% more, by the end of the century. The oyster harvest in the Northwest Pacific could increase by 25% over the next 50 years. This area is the canary in the coal mine- it is the first to show effects of increased acidification and gives insight on the dynamics of how these sensitive ecosystems will react. There are many short and long term strategies being constructed in attempts to rectify the situation, especially because of potential devastating consequences rippling up the entire food web. This research alone, costs from tens to hundreds of million dollars to complete. It is not cheap researching this evolving problem due to fossil fuel emissions; however, losing any of these shellfishing stocks would be detrimental on a much larger scale and immeasurable effects to local economies.

Thank you to OCEAN Researcher Brigid McKenna

More information in the link below: