The Herring River Restoration Project has reached another important milestone with the filing of the project's first environmental permit application. The Town of Wellfleet submitted a permit application to the Cape Cod Commission for review of the project as a Development of Regional Impact, according to a
"We are pleased to see this vital restoration project take an important step forward," said Daniel Hoort, Wellfleet Town Administrator. "This is an event that takes us into a new phase and starts us down the road toward construction and correcting long term environmental damage."
Phase I is a collaborative project undertaken by the Town of Wellfleet and the Cape Cod National Seashore. In a letter to the Cape Cod Commission, Seashore Superintendent Brian Carlstrom stated that, "the proposed restoration of the Herring River estuary is a project of unique significance to the region, and of vital importance to the Cape Cod National Seashore." Degraded water quality in the river, "is responsible for the closure of hundreds of acres of once-harvestable downstream shellfish beds," Carlstrom wrote.
Herring River is currently in violation of state and federal clean water standards and restoring its water quality and habitat for fish and shellfish is a town priority. The application seeks to implement the first phase of the restoration project to revive 570 acres of former tidal wetlands. The wetlands have degraded over the past century due to the 1909 construction of the Chequessett Neck Road dike which blocks daily tidal flow.
Ninety-five percent of the land involved in Phase 1 (540 acres) is federally-owned within the Cape Cod National Seashore. Of the remaining area, roughly nine acres are owned by the Wellfleet Conservation Trust, ten acres are owned by Chequessett Yacht and Country Club, and approximately eleven acres are portions of wetlands on residential parcels. The project includes measures to protect all public and private structures from any potential harm due to the restoration of tidal flow.
Copies of the application are available for public viewing at Wellfleet Public Library, 55 West Main Street, and the Wellfleet Health and Conservation Department, 220 West Main Street. The application is also available electronically on the
Town's website and
Friends of Herring River website.
Wellfleet SPAT, Wellfleet Shellfish Department, Wellfleet Shellfish Advisory Board and Friends of Herring River co-sponsor program on local shellfishing history
Sunday, January 19th, 2 pm,
at Wellfleet Public Library
Dr. Barbara Brennessel will speak about her book,
Good Tidings: The History and Ecology of Shellfishing and Aquaculture in Wellfleet Harbor.
Shellfish Grants are a common sight in Wellfleet Harbor today but this was not always the case. This talk will provide a historical background to the "wild" shellfish industry in Welllfeet and explain the basics of shellfish aquaculture from its earliest practices to modern shellfish farming. Part industry guide, part biology lesson, part cultural and Town history, this event will highlight iconic Wellfleet shellfish from their birth and growth on the flats to the dinner plate.
Copies of "Good Tidings" will be available and signed by the author for the special rate of $5/copy with all proceeds donated to Friends of Herring River.