Dozens of shellfishermen and interested citizens participated in a
recent forum to discuss the
science behind the Herring River Restoration Project's benefits for shellfish resources.
If you missed the meeting, you can read the Provincetown Banner article or watch it
Here are some of the ways restoration will benefit shellfish resources and other aquatic life:
- Restoring twice-daily flushing with clean, high-salinity Cape Cod Bay water will improve water quality, especially near the river mouth, resulting in the likely re-opening of harvestable shellfish areas.
- Restoring tidal exchange should decrease fecal coliform by dilution with clean seawater; and an increase in the presence of several factors that limit the lifespan of fecal coliform bacteria: higher salinity, dissolved oxygen, sunlight and predation.
- Tidal flushing will also increase the pH (lowers the acidity) of water in the Herring River estuary. The current high acidity in some parts of the system contributes to the potential for fish kills.
- Because flood tides are stronger than ebb tides, fine sediments moved by tidal currents will be transported upstream into the estuary to feed lower lying areas that have lost of marsh elevation.
- Tidal flow will be restored through the Chequessett Neck Road (CNR) dike incrementally while water quality, vegetation, tide levels, salinity, sediment movement and many other environmental factors will be monitored and compared with pre-restoration and predicted conditions. The rate of tidal restoration can be slowed, reversed, or increased based on the system response as indicated by monitoring data.
The forum was co-sponsored by Wellfleet Shellfish Advisory Bord and Friends of Herring River. Many Thanks to our presenters: John Portnoy,
former Cape Cod National Seashore Ecologist; Kirk Bosma,
Coastal Engineer with Woods Hole Group; and Mark Borrelli, Coastal Geologist with Center for Coastal Studies.