The Herring Run
News and Information about the
June 2021
2021 River Herring Migration: Spawners Contend with Both Deteriorating Culverts and Little Water

Young herring must traverse shallow water (left) and multiple restricted culverts (above) on their migratory journey from Cape Cod Bay to their spawning ponds. Sadly, many fish are unable to complete the journey.
During April and May, for the tenth consecutive year, a large group of dedicated volunteers conducted a sample census of alewives and blueback herring as they migrate from Cape Cod Bay to the Wellfleet kettle ponds. Each year count data are forwarded to Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) and processed by the state Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) to produce an estimate of the total number of spawning fish which attempt the difficult passage through the diked Herring River estuary. We expect the population estimate from DMF in late summer. In the meantime, we can report that this year’s passage was particularly arduous, with the long-term drought and consequently low water making the swim through undersized and decaying culverts at Old Kings Highway and Schoolhouse Hill Road crossings difficult at best. Herring counters witnessed hundreds of potential spawners stranded and dying before ever reaching Herring Pond.

Although sporadic droughts and shallow river water are natural, road crossings and culverts are not. Not only are the culverts too small, providing excellent ambush sites for fish-eating snapping turtles and other predators, but both sand roads are eroding into the stream. This extra sediment further shoals the waterway that is, in the best of times, barely passable for adult spawning river herring.

The long-term solution to this problem, currently in the planning stages and funded by a grant from the Mass Environmental Trust, is to replace both culverts with 12-ft wide openings that simulate upstream and downstream river channels. The project also includes redesigning both roads to minimize runoff and stream sedimentation, while preserving the crossings’ woodsy, rural character.

Friends will soon launch a major fund-raising effort to implement these plans, install the new culverts and, together with the large tidal restoration downstream, once and for all bring relief to this once prolific fish run.
Friends Welcomes New Board Members, Celebrates Out-going Chair Beth Chapman
Left: Outgoing Friends of Herring River Chair, Beth Chapman
Friends of Herring River welcomes four new members to its Board and, with great appreciation, acknowledges the many contributions of outgoing Chair, Lisbeth "Beth" Wiley Chapman.

Beth is among our founding board members. She spent summers growing up on the River, watching its decline and has deep passion for its restoration. Beth became Chair in 2018, following the devastating loss of our President, Don Palladino. No one believed they could fill Don’s shoes but Beth was willing to work toward continuing Don’s legacy. Beth always brought great energy and determination to her time as Chair. She never saw problems, only possibilities. Friends of Herring River is forever grateful to Beth for her stewardship and her continued commitment to remain on the Board. We wish her every success in her new home in Ashland, MA where she is surrounded by her sons and granddaughters.

Board member Dale Rheault is our new Chair. Dale is a licensed independent social worker, with a specialty in addiction therapy, Dale has spent 40 years as a therapist, working for the past 13 years in Provincetown. She has a deep background as a volunteer for not-for-profit organizations. A member of the Board of Wellfleet Preservation Hall, she has assisted in its major fundraising campaigns. Dale is a Trustee Emerita of the Pennfield School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. As abutters to the Herring River, Dale and her husband, David, look down from their home in Wellfleet to the mouth of the river.

Four new Board members bring a depth of experience and passion for the environment:

Patti Elliott founded Elliott Physical Therapy in 2014 with her husband, Darryl. At Elliott, she serves as the Marketing Director. This role incorporates her passion for building healthier communities and environments. She received her undergraduate degree in English from Stonehill College and continued her graduate studies at MGH IHP, becoming dual-certified as a Speech Pathologist and Reading Specialist. Patti has volunteered for many non-profits and enjoys fundraising initiatives that impact the communities she loves. She, her two sons, and her husband have summered in Wellfleet since 2008 and recently moved to the Great Pastures neighborhood overlooking the Herring River.

Jackie Fouse has had a 40-year international corporate career, mostly in the healthcare industry, and is currently CEO of Agios Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA. She has B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics and a Ph.D. in finance. In 2017 she decided to pursue a Master's in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She completed that program in 2019, during which time she participated in research with the Herring River Restoration Project team. She is highly interested in not only contributing to the restoration of the Herring River, but also in the preservation of the unique attributes of the Cape Cod ecosystem at large. Jackie and her partner have owned their home in Wellfleet since 2009.

In 2005, after ten years as Director of Finance and Administration for a Chicago area non-profit, Dan Hoort left his position to purchase a bed and breakfast in Provincetown with his partner, Bob. In 2010, while Bob ran the bed and breakfast, Dan began working as Finance Director for the Town of Provincetown. In 2016, he accepted the position of Town Administrator with the Town of Wellfleet, a position he held for four years before retiring in July of 2020. Dan holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Michigan State and passed the CPA exam in 1994.

Nick Robinson has worked to establish and advance environmental law since 1970, when he was named to the Legal Advisory Committee for the President's Council on Environmental Quality. He founded the environmental legal studies programs of the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University in 1978 and taught at the Yale School of Environment for two decades. While chairing the Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, he participated in drafting the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity and was IUCN's Legal Advisor. He has long served on the national Board for the Environmental Law Institute. His wife, Shelly's, family hails from Bound Brook Island and she and Nick, along with their two daughters and grandkids, have been summer residents of Wellfleet for more than four decades.
Inaugural 5K Herring River Run a Success!
Nearly 100 people participated in the inaugural Herring River Run 5K during May.

Thanks to all!

We look forward to holding this event in-person in May 2022.
P.O. Box 565
South Wellfleet, MA 02663