A Subcommittee of the Cape Cod Commission will continue the public hearing on Phase 1 of the Herring River Restoration Project on Thursday, April 30th, at 4:30 p.m.
Due to current social distancing requirements, the hearing session will be conducted virtually. Members of the public can access the hearing by either: going to www.capecodcommission.org/ccc and clicking on "Join Virtual Hearing"; or calling in to (929) 205-6099 and entering meeting ID: 426 522 224.
The Subcommittee opened the hearing on March 9th at the Wellfleet Council on Aging Building. Approximately 130 interested stakeholders and project supporters attended the hearing. The hearing was recorded and can be viewed using this
In December 2019, the Town of Wellfleet submitted an application to the Cape Cod Commission for review of phase 1 of the restoration project as a Development of Regional Impact pursuant to the Cape Cod Commission Act.
Phase I proposes to re-introduce tidal flow to portions of the Herring River estuary in Wellfleet and Truro to restore approximately 570 acres of coastal wetlands. Phase 1 includes the construction and operation of new or replacement tidal control structures within the Town of Wellfleet.
Anyone wishing to testify orally will be welcome to do so during the virtual public hearing. Written comments may also be delivered or mailed to the Cape Cod Commission office, P.O. Box 226, 3225 Main Street, Barnstable, MA 02630, or emailed to the Cape Cod Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project plans and other relevant documents are available for review at the Cape Cod Commission using this link.
Facts About Herring River Restoration Project, Phase 1
Blue shaded area shows the extent of tidal restoration at the end of Phase 1
1. Phase 1 will restore 570 acres of severely degraded estuarine habitat.
Prolonged tidal restriction caused by the Chequessett Neck Road dike has resulted in severe habitat degradation and nearly complete loss of native tidal wetland habitat. As a consequence Herring River is listed as an "Impaired Water" in violation of several Clean Water Act standards, and; the Chequessett Neck Road Bridge is a state-designated point source for bacterial contamination responsible for closure of downstream shellfish areas.
2. 95% of the Phase 1 restoration area -- accounting for 540 acres-- is owned by the federal government in the Cape Cod National Seashore. Of the remaining 30 acres in the Phase 1 restoration area outside the Seashore, approximately 11 acres consist of portions of 11 residential parcels where land currently under wetland jurisdiction will experience some tidal influence.
3. All public and private structures are protected from any adverse impact from Phase 1 tidal restoration. Only three residential properties require mitigation work on their property to prevent any potential impact due to tidal restoration. All three property owners are working cooperatively with the project and have signed letters allowing the work on their property to be described in permit applications.
4. Restoration of tidal flow will happen incrementally,
while system responses are carefully monitored. The Project will re-establish tidal flow to the estuary incrementally using a carefully calibrated adaptive management approach. Adaptive management incorporates extensive monitoring--much of which is already underway--to document baseline conditions and, once implementation begins, measure ongoing system responses to restoration of tidal flow.
5. The Project is committed to transparency. Stakeholder engagement has been a priority since the beginning of the Herring River Restoration Project, and is a big reason why so many organizations and individuals support the project. There have been more than 60 public meetings and presentations involving hundreds of stakeholders over the past decade. Since last June alone, there have been six publicly posted local meetings where Herring River Restoration Project has been discussed and members of the public could offer comments. This commitment to transparency will continue.
A Note From Friends of Herring River About COVID-19
While the world is going through challenging times dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains one constant in all of our lives: nature continues to provide a welcome respite and solace from the ongoing anxiety that many of us are facing.
All of us at Friends of Herring River wish you well, hope you can get outside to enjoy the nature around us while socially distancing and know that we continue our work on this most important restoration project.