Herring River Restoration Project


The goal of the Herring River Restoration Project is to restore a healthy, functioning tidal marsh within the Herring River flood plain by re-establishing tidal exchange in the river basin and its sub-basins. Tidal exchange will be increased incrementally over time using an adaptive management approach to achieve desired conditions for native estuarine habitats.

The essential feature of the project is to replace the Chequesset Neck Dike with a bridge and control structure to allow managed increases in tidal flow. Other restrictions to tidal flow will be removed or modified and flood protection measures will be taken to protect private property.

For the most current information on the Herring River Restoration Project please visit:  http://www.friendsofherringriver.org/




Important Update: at the turn of the year, the Herring River Technical Committee, HRTC completed it's mission to provide a Conceptual Restoration Plan, CRP and a second Memorandum of Understanding, MOU II (between the 3 entities of Wellfleet, Truro and the Cape Cod National Seashore) for the proposed restoration. The MOU II specified that representatives from the three entities and cooperating State and Federal agencies would form the Herring River Restoration Committee, HRRC. for the purpose of creating a Detailed Restoration Plan, DRP. Full materials will be posted here shortly, we are creating easier to get to pages for you.









These are a sampling of most recent documents used by the Herring River Technical Committee (HRTC). If a document is referred to as “draft”, this means it may contain sections which will be corrected before final approval. Working group notes and chairman’s notes should not be considered official minutes.


The Chair speed reads during a meeting recess.


Herring River Technical Committee, Wellfleet, MA Final CHAIR NOTES – Final HRTC MEETING 12/18/07

1. Bob Hubby will email archive document to everyone. Bob asked members to forward any documents they feel important to him to include in final document by January 1st.

2. Chair will put a time-spent-in-meetings file together in 30 days and send out. If members want to add something they have 1 week to respond. Chair is going to take responsibility for time spent inside meetings, members are responsible for time spent outside meetings.

3. Chair asked John Portnoy to update chronology.

4. Chair is going to document appointment certificates for members on the new committee.

5. Need to correct Stephen Spear’s title on member list: USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

6. Draft a list of proposed advisory committee members to be supportive of the HRRC.

7. The Chair asked Gary Joseph to make contact with the HRRC committee members and schedule a meeting within 30 days and develop an agenda, and post with the towns of Truro and Wellfleet. The committee will also need to record meeting minutes.

8. The Chair discussed a protocol to keep the HRTC informed with the HRCC agenda and minutes at least for the first few meetings. Should set up communications list and have a list of abutters that are sent notifications.



Members present: John Portnoy, Gordon Peabody, Robert Hubby, Eric Derleth, Tim Smith, Carl Breivogel, Steve Block, John Riehl, Joel Fox, Jack Whalen, Diane Murphy, Stephen Spear

Also present: Gary Joseph, Charlene Greenhalgh (here for Gary Palmer)

Members absent: Gary Palmer, Hillary Greenberg, Andy Koch

Chair called meeting to order at 1:34.

Chair reviewed corrected meeting minutes from November 6th meeting. Carl Breivogel strikes paragraph (page 4 beginning of last paragraph to word “issue”) and restated paragraph as “Carl Breivogel stated that it isn’t unusual for low flow streams such as this to have a problem with debris. Local herring wardens insure fish passage through regular stream maintenance by removing existing and potential obstacles to fish passage. Carl is unaware of a protocol in place but believes one initiated by the herring warden would be useful.”

Chair entertains motion to accept corrected minutes. Motion by Bob hubby at 1:38. Seconded by John Riehl. Motion passed unanimously at 1:38.

Chair asked for public comments at 1:39.

No comments.

Chair handed out copies of CRP to members who did not have one. Chair asked for announcements at 1:40.

Chair gave report on MOU II signature process. Truro and Wellfleet selectmen were given copies of CRP. On November 13th, three copies were used as masters to get original signatures. George Price signed immediately. MOU II was approved by chair of Truro Board Of Selectmen. Wellfleet Board Of Selectmen praised report and the chair signed.

Chair thanks members for their help and comments on how historical this moment is.

Letterhead made by John Portnoy will be used for Newsletter.

Chair asked Bob Hubby for report on archives. There is currently a 61page document. The CRP development alone had 223 emails related to final preparation of that document. 11 things were excluded… example: redistributed subcommittee reports. 5 items remain in archives: communication of technical information, (mosquitoes, wells), Gordon’s notes following meeting, consultant bidding process, MOU development process. Bob Hubby can email document to everyone. Bob asked for input from members, e.g., emails. Document is chronological. Chair asked for this to be done in a timely manner. Stephen Spear asked if Bob needed hard copies. Bob doesn’t. Email is what he is using. Chair asked for 30 days time limit to create final document. Bob will email document to all members today following this meeting. Bob asked members to forward any documents they feel important to him to include in final document by January 1st. Members can send single emails – don’t need to compile them into one document. Chair thanked Bob Hubby for his work on the archive document.

Steve Block brought up the issue of non-federal time as a match from federal grants. Was this [tallying time spent in meetings] ever done? Volunteer hours are valued. All time spent on the project by non-federal workers, e.g. state, town, county and volunteers, should be documented as a match for future federal funding of the project. Bob Hubby suggested we start from the beginning. A portion has been done already? We haven’t accounted any match for this group at all – Tim Smith. Tim Smith suggested each member go back to their calendars and determine what meetings they’ve attended – meeting time and travel time. Compile into matrix… check off boxes. Box would include meeting time and travel time? - Gordon. Who was there, when it started and when it ended – Stephen spear. Tim Smith, John Portnoy, Steve Block, Stephen Spear, Eric Derleth would not be included. Eric Derleth suggested including time spent outside of meetings (e.g., fire station?, writing CRP). Chair will put file together in 30 days and send out. If members want to add something they have 1 week to respond. Bob Hubby mentioned the time-spent writing/editing the CRP. Also the writing of the 12-to 13-subcommittee reports. Members should tally the hours spent on these activities. Steve Block suggest finding out how much the town has paid for administrative? Chair is going to take responsibility for time spent inside meetings, members are responsible for time spent outside meetings, and will email to members. Separate time by town.

Chair asked John Portnoy to update chronology at 2:04.

Chair is going to document appointment certificates for members on the new committee.

Chair asks Tim Smith about public access to detailed contour maps of the Herring River Flood Plain… CAD/GIS files. Public files. Files are not currently accessible. Can put them on a cd. If someone wants a pictures of the floodplain, they are pdfs – can circulate them. Would it be better to have them posted on the town website – Bob Hubby. Chair and members would like copies of pdfs. Members can email Tim Smith or John Portnoy for copies. Chair thanked Tim Smith for his work on the maps.

Chair introduced members of HRRC, established by MOU II signed on November 13th - Gary Joseph (Town of Wellfleet), Gary Palmer (Town of Truro), Steve Block (NOAA Restoration Center), Eric Derleth (US Fish and Wildlife Service), Stephen Spear (USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service *Correct on member list), Tim Smith (Coastal Zone Management – Wetlands Restoration Program), John Portnoy (Cape Cod National Seashore).

Chair called brief recess at 2:12.

Chair reconvened meeting at 2:25.

Chair asked members to share priorities they felt should be communicated to HRRC from HRTC. John Riehl would like project to go faster. Carl Brievogel doesn’t envy Gary Joseph on being a new member of HRRC, not having been part of HRTC. Carl thinks it would be helpful to Gary to go over history of the HRTC. Chair said he has been going over the CRP with Gary. Carl wished Gary good luck. Gary Joseph introduced himself. Gary said he is familiar with the overview of the herring river restoration project and many of the associated issues. Gary sees this as a great project for the town of Wellfleet. Gary said being appointed to the HRRC has changed his view of the project. Gary said he must now represent everyone – both pros and cons – and hear all sides. The Chair thanked Gary. Bob Hubby followed up on Carl’s comment. Bob suggested that one helpful document in particular would be the FAQ document. Jack Whalen said it has been an honor to be on the committee for 2 years and 4 months. Jack thinks the new committee needs to redo the engineering aspect of the project. There are some engineering things that are still open-ended. Jack thinks the committee has done a good job, and hopes to live long enough to see the end of it. Stephen Spear thinks the communication will be very important. We may need someone in the future to help with that… communications with the public. Stephen looks forward to having HRTC members that are not members of HRRC available for help. Steve Block suggested hiring a firm for MEPA/NEPA. Steve thinks HRRC will need to look into Mill Creek. Eric Derleth is happy to have been part of what has been done, and is looking forward to what is to come. Comments on what Steve Block said. Issues specific to parcels of land affected by any tidal restoration. Federal appraisal process … way under for golf course restoration. Focus of HRRC. Hopes to tap into expertise from past HRTC members and possibly sub-committee members. Useful for education. Joel Fox stated that he is pleased to have served on the committee. He wished Gary all the luck in the world. It’s been a hell of a run and I’m happy to be here. Joel thinks the new committee should review the CRP and information used to put that together before they go forward. Tim Smith thinks an important consideration is the administrative structure/support needed in the future. There is overwhelming support and effort needed in the future. Technical details, project management, outside consultants, those sorts of questions need to stay close to the top. Diane Murphy would like to back up what Tim Smith said about hiring outside consultants. Diane suggested staying cautious about costs (e.g., diking). Another priority is shellfish industry interest. John Portnoy thanked the HRTC members. John said we need to move closer to treating the whole system together, closer integrating the Mill Creek system. John is looking forward to working on the new committee.

The Chair brought up the important continuity of ethics laws, public meeting laws, and open meeting laws.

The Chair suggested HRRC meeting agendas and minutes should be posted in both Wellfleet and Truro.

The Chair brought up the his concerns regarding the social component of this project. It should be as important as the scientific component. Every question should be answered to the best of the abilities of the HRRC. The Chair thinks the HRRC will be more than capable.

The Chair opened the floor to drafting a list of proposed advisory committee members to be supportive of the HRRC at 2:53. The Chair will put his name on the advisory list.

John Portnoy reminded the group that HRRC is a group made of seven representatives from seven organizations. The letterhead should represent this. John passed out a list of suggested advisors.

Stephen Spear brought up an email that was about a consultant and his theory on the law in regards to personal property rights. Mentioned that we want a solution that would be satisfactory to everyone. This may not be possible. The issue that someone’s aesthetic opinion should not be a determining factor.

John Portnoy commented on private property rights. A private property owner may not hold all the rights to that portion of his/her lands within a coastal flood plain. Laws dating back to English common law and the Magna Carta recognize and protect public rights on such lands.

Stephen Spear hopes to avoid a legal battle regarding property rights.

The Chair asked for additional names to the advisor list at 2:59. John Riehl suggested asking permission before publishing the list. John would like to be included. Jack Whalen asked if anyone from the National Seashore refused to help. No. Steve Block suggested including an engineer (or something like that). Stephen Spear suggested including Peter Watts, Chair of Stakeholder Committee. Stephen thinks we need more people from Truro. Charleen suggested including herself and Pat Pajaron. Charleen asked what about Cape Cod Commission folks? Carl Breivogel would like to be included as a past herring warden official. John Portnoy suggested Truro and Wellfleet DPW Chiefs, Denny O’Connell, and Peter Hall (from Wellfleet).

John Riehl suggested appointing a liaison with the Wellfleet Board of Selectmen.

Tim Smith suggested Lisa Berry-Engler (Coastal Coordinator Areas of Critical Environmental Concern) and Liz Kouleharous. Joel Fox suggested contacting Alice Boyd – grant writer. John Riehl suggested appointing a liaison with the political members of state (e.g., Sarah Peake, etc.). Jack Whalen suggested Barbara Boone (CYCC). Stephen Spear can get an engineering review from his agency.

Chair brought attention to page 4 of MOU II, number 6. Tasks… Review CRP. Committee members should be familiar with scientific and engineering reports of the CRP (list/bibliography in CRP). Develop detailed restoration plan… integrating MEPA/NEPA.

Eric Derleth asked what is the likely timeline for the NEPA process? John Portnoy indicated that the National Seashore has received $88K from NPS, which has been obligated to the Coastal America Foundation for production of an EIS/EIR. These funds do not have to be spent immediately. John Portnoy doesn’t know about timeline as yet.

Permitting timelines should be a priority. ConCom will be one of the earlier permits. Many permits cannot get issued without a ConCom permit.

MESA will be covered under MEPA. Cannot have permitting process until MEPA/NEPA permitting is complete – Eric Derleth.

Charleen said one tripwire might be Cape Cod Commission DRI.

Chair brought up subject of outreach. This is an exemplary project… in scope and magnitude. Educational component should be included.

Public access is critical component. Produce third MOU. Produce detailed plan.

Gary Joseph asked how confident the HRTC is that the project is going to work. Is the CRP going to have enough information to go forward? The issues are listed in the MOU II. The Chair stated that the CRP represents a linkage between the HRTC and the HRCC. The Chair thinks Gary can have 100% confidence in the project. Stephen Spear thinks that all members think the project is doable, but it will be difficult. We are under no illusions about the task ahead of us. Stephen is cautiously optimistic. Carl Breivogel answered Gary by reiterating what the Chair said. Carl thinks there will be no surprises from the committee. The Chair states that the new committee will not be voting, they will be moving forward by consensus. John Portnoy states that new information will come about that will help the committee. John commented on the importance of taking small steps. Eric Derleth stated that there will be another published document, and will have to go through the process, but will have a different outcome… not here are the options, but this is what we are going to do. Stephen Spear brought up the fact that the committee had unanimous votes, even with differing opinions. John Portnoy commented on Gary’s phrase: this isn’t just a good idea. The committee has always gone to the best science they could find. John feels confident the committee has done the best they could in addressing the issues. Gary Joseph has a lot of confidence in John Portnoy. Eric Derleth stated that the price tag for the project is daunting. Moving the golf course is going to be expensive, and we don’t have the money for it. We don’t have money for changing the dike. We’re going to have to raise money. It’s going to be expensive. Eric thinks the committee can get it done, it’s just going to take a while.

The Chair brought up the issue of transitional protocols. The Chair asked Gary Joseph to make contact with the HRRC committee members and schedule a meeting within 30 days and develop an agenda, and post with the towns of Truro and Wellfleet. The committee will also need to record meeting minutes.

The Chair discussed a protocol to keep the HRTC informed with the HRCC agenda and minutes at least for the first few meetings. Should set up communications list and have a list of abutters that are sent notifications.

Bob Hubby suggested the HRRC should have some of the guidelines that the HRTC has been following.

John Portnoy suggested scheduling the first meeting of the HRRC soon. The National Seashore is looking forward to beginning the NEPA process. Would like to include someone from the state for MEPA. Stephen Spear thinks that should wait until the second meeting. Stephen is sobered by what the committee has to do.

The Chair invited HRTC members to make parting statements.

John Riehl thinks it has been a great committee and a great process. John thanked the Chair for his leadership. John thanked Tim Smith for his interventions. John thanked John Portnoy for his intellectual leadership. Carl Breivogel was impressed with the information he received from the committee. It has been a good process. He’s enjoyed working on the committee. Bob Hubby stated the process has been remarkable. The presentations have been outstanding. Bob doesn’t think there is a better spokesman for their efforts than the Chair and John. Jack Whelan appreciates the Chair’s leadership. Stephen Spear stated that he has enormous respect for all committee members. A river shall never kill its fish. That should be a fundamental truth here. Steve Block stated this is the most complex project he has come across. The complexity is a result of social constraints. He is awe of what the committee has accomplished. The Chair has done an excellent job. Eric Derleth stated that this is the most complex project he has worked on. Communications provided have been critical. The benefits are huge, and that’s why we’re all here. Joel Fox stated how sobering this project is. Perhaps only on Cape Cod could a project like this happen. Tim Smith stated that this process was a great opportunity. Understanding what the resource means to the town. Some committee members get paid, but the volunteers, especially the Chair, have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Diane Murphy read aloud a written statement that she prepared, thanking the Chair and HRTC members. John Portnoy passed out jars of honey to thank all members. John thanked Gordon for serving as Chair.

The Chair thanked the HRTC members for their shared inspiration. He said he always believed in their mutual efforts and they had never disappointed him. The Chair said he always had confidence in and respect for their work. The Chair also has full confidence in the HRRC.

Gary Joseph, as representing the town of Wellfleet, thanked the committee and looks forward to working on the HRRC.

The Chair entertains a motion to adjourn, whereby dissolving the HRTC. Motion to adjourn entertained by Joel Fox at 4:11. Seconded by Bob Hubby. Passed unanimously at 4:11.

Respectfully submitted by Nicole Freidenfelds

3. MOU II Cover Letter


To: Wellfleet Board of Selectmen Attn: Acting Town Administrator

On behalf of the Herring River Technical Committee, I am hereby submitting our Committee approved draft of the Second Memorandum of Understanding (MOU II) for review by Town Counsel. After receiving comments from legal review, the Herring River Technical Committee shall incorporate necessary changes into a final version.

The final version of the MOU II will be attached to the final version of the Conceptual Restoration Plan, for simultaneous review by the three entities.

This document defines the roles, relationships and protocols between the Towns of Wellfleet, Truro and the Cape Cod National Seashore during the planning phase of the proposed Herring River Estuary restoration. The MOU II Working Group (Gary Palmer, Rex Peterson, Hillary Greenberg, Carrie Phillips, John Portnoy and Gordon Peabody) has been meeting every few weeks for nearly six months to produce this draft document for legal review.

Responses and questions should be directed to HRTC Chair Gordon Peabody. 508-237-3724, gordonsafeharbor@yahoo.com P.O. Box 880, Wellfleet, MA, 02667. Thank you.

Gordon Peabody, August 1, 2007 Herring River Technical Committee Chair

Committee Approved MOU II DOCUMENT


This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU II) is effective upon signature by and among the National Park Service (NPS), a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior, acting through the Superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore and the Towns of Wellfleet and Truro, municipal corporations located in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, acting through their Boards of Selectmen. The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding is 1) to endorse the attached conceptual plan for the restoration of the Herring River estuary, recently completed by the Herring River Technical Committee under a previous (22 August 2005) MOU (referred to as MOU I) between NPS and the Town of Wellfleet, and 2) to enable additional planning, funding and environmental-compliance steps to produce a detailed restoration plan to be considered for ratification under a third and final MOU (proposed as MOU III) for project implementation. WITNESSETH WHEREAS, the National Park Service (hereinafter Park Service) administers and manages the Cape Cod National Seashore (hereinafter CCNS), located partially within the Towns of Wellfleet and Truro (hereinafter “the Towns”) and including more than 800 acres within the Herring River floodplain; and whereas CCNS is legally authorized by U.S.C. §§ 1 – 3, 459b – 459b-8 as a unit of the National Park System to enter into memoranda of understanding;

WHEREAS, the Town of Wellfleet maintains ownership of the Herring River Dike, which currently controls tidal flow to the Herring River System, as well as having jurisdiction over much of the area downstream from the structure; WHEREAS, the Town of Truro includes lands and waters within the Herring River estuary that may be affected by the restoration of tidal flow through the Wellfleet-owned dike at Chequesset Neck;

WHEREAS, during a 10 January 2006 Wellfleet Board of Selectmen meeting, the Board voted “unanimously to endorse the recommendations of the Herring River Technical Committee and that the Technical Committee proceed with development of a management plan for restoration” (Board of Selectmen Minutes, 10 January 2006) (http://www.wellfleetma.org/Public_Documents/WellfleetMA_SelectMin/S0052DB29-0052DB30);

WHEREAS, on 2 May 2007 the Truro Board of Selectmen accepted in concept the restoration of the Herring River estuary, based on the stated premise that this restoration would be beneficial to the public interest and to the environment;

WHEREAS, the CCNS is mandated by law and policy to preserve native ecosystems, and the restoration of the natural functions and public values of the Herring River estuary is consistent with those mandates;

WHEREAS, the Town of Wellfleet and CCNS, through the Technical and Stakeholder Committees and pursuant to the prior MOU (MOU I), worked together to determine that restoration of natural functions to the Herring River estuary is feasible and desirable, and to complete a Conceptual Restoration Plan (CRP) that meets mutual goals and objectives for restoration; and whereas the Town of Wellfleet’s and CCNS’s acceptance of the CRP satisfies the objectives and completes the work called for in MOU I;

WHEREAS, the Towns and CCNS believe that it is imperative that a Detailed Restoration Plan (DRP) be developed with continued public involvement and, when completed, that the DRP represent the full consensus of the three primary entities; and whereas, the alternatives-analysis and public-involvement-based approaches of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) provide a mechanism for accomplishing these objectives;

WHEREAS, the parties have determined that it is in the public interest to enter into this Memorandum of Understanding setting forth a cooperative arrangement between the parties with respect to the restoration of the Herring River Estuary;

NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing, the Towns and the CCNS agree as follows:

1. The Town of Wellfleet, the Town of Truro and CCNS hereby accept the Conceptual Restoration Plan, attached to this MOU.

2. The Town of Wellfleet, the Town of Truro and CCNS agree to cooperate on the development of a detailed restoration plan for Herring River.

3. In the event that any of the signatories of this MOU disagree with any aspect of the proposed plan, all parties agree to work cooperatively to resolve any disagreement. No aspect of the project may proceed without the specific approval of the Towns and the CCNS.

4. Public and interagency review of the detailed restoration plan will be undertaken following the guidelines and requirements of MEPA and NEPA. The Towns will serve as co-applicants for the MEPA process, and CCNS will serve as the lead for the NEPA process. The Massachusetts Wetlands Restoration Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resource Conservation Service, key state and federal partners, will participate as cooperating agencies. All phases of this process will be jointly sponsored by the Towns, CCNS, and the cooperating agencies, and all documents (including public meeting notices, draft public review documents, final plans, and decision documents) will bear the names of these entities as equal partners in this endeavor.

5. The Towns, the CCNS and the cooperating agencies will, within 30 days of execution of this MOU II, organize as an interdisciplinary team, hereinafter the Herring River Restoration Committee, to develop a detailed and comprehensive plan for restoration of the Herring River estuary. This committee of seven may invite additional technical experts, recommended by the Herring River Technical Committee and others, to assist in restoration planning.

6. The Herring River Restoration Committee will: a. Review the Herring River Conceptual Restoration Plan (CRP) accepted under this agreement; b. Review all scientific and engineering reports in support of the CRP; c. Develop a Detailed Restoration Plan that addresses environmental and social concerns through an integrated MEPA/NEPA process of alternatives analysis and public involvement; d. Develop a Detailed Restoration Plan that is suitable for local, state and federal permitting requirements and procedures. e. Seek funding sources. f. Inform the public on a regular basis through public meetings, reports or other forms of outreach, in addition to the public process required by MEPA and NEPA. g. Produce a third MOU for the Towns’ and CCNS’s approval, agreeing to collaborate on project implementation per the detailed restoration plan. h. Deliver products of the MEPA/NEPA process.

7. This Agreement and the obligations of the Park Service hereunder shall be subject to the availability of funding and staffing, and nothing contained herein shall be construed as binding the Park Service to expend in any one fiscal year any sum in excess of appropriations made by Congress or administratively allocated for the purpose of this Agreement for the fiscal year, or to involve the Park Service in any contract or other obligation for the further expenditure of money in excess of such appropriations or allocations.

8. This Agreement and the obligations of the Towns hereunder shall be subject to the availability of funding and staff, and nothing herein shall be construed as binding the Towns to commit their resources beyond what is financially and managerially possible within the limits of their municipal budgets.

9. Each party shall bear its own costs associated with its participation in this agreement without reimbursement.

10. This Agreement and the obligations of the Park Service hereunder are subject to the laws, regulations and policies governing the Park Service and CCNS whether now in force or hereafter enacted or promulgated. 11. This Agreement and the obligations of the Towns hereunder are subject to the laws, regulations and policies governing the Towns, whether now in force or hereafter enacted or promulgated. 12. This agreement shall remain in effect until superseded by a further MOU.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have caused this instrument to be executed by their respective duly authorized representatives on the day and year indicated.

______________________________ Jacqui Wildes Beebe Wellfleet Board of Selectmen, Chair Date

______________________________ Fred Gaechter Truro Board of Selectmen, Chair, Date

____________________________ George E. Price, Jr. Cape Cod National Seashore, Superintendent, Date


Mike Ball & Dennis Lowry of ENSR


approved 03/19/07 and submitted to ENSR Consultants for inclusion in draft Conceptual Restoration Plan

Herring River Tidal Restoration and Nuisance Mosquitoes for HRTC Conceptual Restoration Plan

Background Proposed tidal restoration will be undertaken in steps, but ultimately will cause spring tides to approach 6 ft-MSL, inundating a large portion of the wetlands upstream of the Chequesset Neck Road crossing. Although lower low tides are also anticipated, resulting in much-improved drainage, anthropogenic changes to the marsh over the past 100 years could create stagnant-water breeding sites for floodwater mosquitoes. Marsh subsidence, old piles of dredged material, and dense vegetation are all likely to impede low-tide drainage. This concern, together with the knowledge that a primary impetus for the original diking in 1909 was a locally intense mosquito nuisance, urges careful planning to avoid worsening the seasonal mosquito nuisance.

Complicating the situation even more is the fact that 80% of the Herring River wetlands are under the management responsibility of the National Park Service, a federal agency that protects native insect populations unless they threaten human health or safety by, for example, vectoring disease as determined by the US Public Health Service. Unless a public health threat develops (unlikely on outer Cape Cod), the Seashore does not have the authority to allow any actions solely intended to control native mosquitoes.

The Cape Cod Mosquito Control Project (CCMCP) does have special authority to undertake mosquito control on NPS lands that were conveyed from the state (Pilgrim and Province Lands State Parks); however, no such authority exists for the Herring River system, where CCMCP has reportedly done no work since the 1980s, except for monitoring adult mosquitoes. Nevertheless, CCMCP remains concerned about currently high mosquito production from Herring River marshes (documented in Portnoy 1984) and supportive of ongoing efforts to restore tidal flushing, along with water quality and predatory fish populations, as ways to reestablish natural mosquito control. In addition, CCMCP represents the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in monitoring outer Cape mosquito populations for the very insect-vectored diseases that would trigger a US Public Health Service determination of a health emergency justifying active mosquito control. Thus, there appears to be considerable commonality of interests between CCMCP’s duties and the restoration project, both in terms of restoring wetland hydrologic and ecological function, and in protecting human health.

The Plan The overarching goal of the restoration project is to restore native hydrography, an action that should in general improve water quality, tidal flushing, fish access to the wetland surface and, thus, floodwater mosquito control. A well-recognized overarching difficulty is considerable uncertainty, despite hydrodynamic modeling, of wetland flooding depth and duration throughout spring-neap tidal cycles and after major rain events, particularly at small spatial scales. Because tidal restoration is planned to take place in steps, through incrementally opening restricting structures, system hydrology and nuisance insect production can be both monitored and adaptively managed.

Most of the public-nuisance mosquitoes on outer Cape Cod breed in flood waters, i.e. pools that form after heavy rains or high tides on a wetland surface. These pools of floodwater can contribute to a substantial mosquito nuisance if they are inaccessible to fish predators. Because of 100 years of wetland drainage and subsidence, stream channelization, and the invasion of Phragmites, shrubs and trees, we are today dealing with a profoundly altered landscape. In this context, the authors suggest that habitat manipulations, which would be inconsistent with NPS policy in an unaltered salt marsh, are appropriate interim measures to both 1) reestablish some semblance of native hydrography at Herring River and 2) promote predatory fish access to mosquito breeding sites that have been created artificially by decades of wetland drainage, spoil disposal and wetland subsidence.

Monitoring Monitoring of adult mosquitoes by CCMCP will continue. In addition, CCMCP staff will identify existing (pre-restoration) larval habitat and species composition as well as monitoring both larvae and adults throughout the restoration process to assess the effects of changing hydrography and salinity on mosquito species composition, abundance and habitat use.

Water chemistry within the Herring River marshes is expected to change profoundly with restored tidal exchange, and in ways that greatly affect both mosquito immatures and their predators; therefore, NPS water-quality staff will work closely with CCMCP in assessing developments in mosquito breeding ecology.

Hydrologic modeling A first step in addressing hydrography and potential mosquito breeding is acquisition of fine-spatial-scale topographic data. Aerial photogrammetric survey and mapping of the flood plain at one-foot contour intervals is planned for spring 2007, supplementing earlier topographic and one-dimensional tide-height modeling (Spaulding & Grilli 2001, 2005). This will be followed by two-dimensional modeling of tide heights and salinity throughout the 1100-acre flood plain, providing an excellent tool for identifying potential breeding sites and for focusing future surveillance.

Restoration Project Implementation Before tidal restoration is initiated, topographic mapping and larvae sampling will be used to map current and potential mosquito breeding sites. Not all can be anticipated, but enough is known of the species composition and breeding ecology of mosquitoes of the outer Cape to predict which species will be favored or suppressed by a predicted change in flooding period or salinity. Success in managing the restoration will depend on the following predetermined contingency plan which is responsive to hydrologic, water chemistry and mosquito monitoring data.

The basic tenets of the hydrographic and mosquito contingency plan are as follows:

1. Effective mosquito control will be realized as a consequence of restored tidal flushing, water quality and predatory fish habitat. Conversely, poor mosquito control can be seen as one indicator of poor flushing and water quality, and incomplete habitat restoration. 2. All work will be undertaken to restore native tidal flooding and drainage and not solely for the purpose of nuisance mosquito control. 3. Because of the long history of tidal restriction, sedimentation and stream channelization, the reestablishment of native salt-marsh tidal flow may require re-digging of filled and/or cutoff creek meanders, especially during the period of incremental tidal restoration. 4. Because of substantial sediment subsidence, the present wetland surface cannot be considered “natural”; therefore, the reestablishment of natural hydrography may include the digging of creeks where they did not exist before diking. 5. As a result of many years of channelization, the river main stem from High Toss Road to Route 6 has a nearly continuous spoil pile along its east bank. This artificial levee will impede water flow onto and off of the wetland surface once tides are restored; therefore, it should be at least interrupted with openings allowing unimpeded water movement. 6. No excavation will be allowed in Herring River marshes until pore-water salinity has been restored to at least 15 ppt, to avert production of acid sulfates and mobilization of toxic metals. 7. All excavation work will be done using low-ground-pressure equipment, with excavated material spread to a depth of not more than 2 inches to avoid the formation of levees that impede water flow. Some of this material may be used to fill subsided marsh on a trial basis. 8. Larvicides will be limited to those with least effect on non-target species (e.g. presently Bti) and used only as an interim measure. All larvicide use must be logged and promptly reported per NPS IPM guidelines. If pools of standing water and intense floodwater mosquito breeding occur on the artificially subsided wetland surface, those areas will be subsequently studied and targeted for measures to make future larvicide applications unnecessary. Follow-up monitoring will assess the efficacy and environmental effects of control efforts. 9. The planned removal of vegetation, including invasive Phragmites, shrubs and trees, from the flood plain will improve both water and predatory fish movement over the wetland surface, and will further promote floodwater mosquito control. 10. The detailed restoration plan will include mechanisms for long-term oversight & decision-making for all aspects of the Herring River Restoration Project, including public input, implementation and regulatory compliance of this strategy for dealing with nuisance mosquitoes. Reference cited Portnoy, J.W. 1984. Salt marsh diking and nuisance mosquito production on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. J. American Mosquito Control Association 44:560-564. Spaulding, M.L. & A, Grilli. 2001. Hydrodynamic ands salinity modeling for estuarine habitat restoration at Herring river, Wellfleet, Mass. Report to NPS. Spaulding, M.L. & A, Grilli. 2005. Simulations of wide sluice gate restoration option for Herring River. Report to NPS. 12 pp.


These three concepts will allow controlled amounts of harbor water to enter the marsh as part of the incremental restoration. Each of these models have been considered, using several parameters: pre-cast transportation vs. poured in place concrete: lifespan maintenance; construction time; installation protocol and cost. So far, these three may be similar in cost.


Click on the link below to read this report being reviewed by the Full Committee.

Herring River Restoration Preliminary Analysis of Alternatives for Modifying Tidal Flooding Controls at the Chequesset Neck Road Dike



8. To review the entire approved conceptual restoration plan, please go to the link below:


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