The Herring Run

News and Information about the
 December 2018

Friends of Herring River recently celebrated its tenth anniversary at the Chequessett Yacht and Country Club.  The celebration featured a special tribute to founding member, Friends' President and beloved community leader, Don Palladino, who passed away in May.  Senator Julian Cyr, pictured here with two of Don's children Cori (left) and Lisa (right) Palladino, presented a Senate adjournment resolution in Don's honor. In addition to Senator Cyr, speakers included Brian Carlstrom, Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent; Hunt Durey, Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration; John Riehl, Friends' Treasurer; and Martha Craig,  Friends' Executive Director. Photo Credit Laurie Warner

For the fifth year in a row, serious science students from Nauset Regional High School participated in a project designed to study the growth and mortality of oysters in Herring River and Mayo Creek.  Advance Placement (AP) Environmental Science Teacher Luke Simpson; Shellfish Constable Nancy Civetta; Friends of Herring River Board members Barbara Brennessel, Alice Iacuessa and John Portnoy; and volunteer Bill Iacuessa helped to coordinate the project.  
Friends of Herring River  Announces
 New Leadership
New Video Highlights Community Voices
Dissolved Oxygen Stress Persists in Herring River

The return of daily tides to Herring River will result in higher and much more stable dissolved oxygen concentrations.  Today, the surface waters of Wellfleet's Herring River are under constant dissolved-oxygen stress because the Chequesset Neck dike blocks the supply of oxygen-rich seawater. Persistent low dissolved oxygen  such as is recorded in Herring River is linked to fish kills, chronic stress on aquatic life and a severe depression of aquatic species diversity above the dike.

Under natural, undiked conditions the oxygen demand of a salt-marsh estuary's decomposing organic matter is met by the infusion of aerobic seawater - every 12 hours, i.e. during every high tide.   

The graphs above plot the river's dissolved oxygen concentrations during the 2017 and 2018 warm summer months, when oxygen demand is very high. Note the drastic fluctuations over each day-night cycle. These wild swings in oxygen are driven largely by the high oxygen demand of peat plus very limited inflow of aerobic seawater from Cape Cod Bay. 

Dissolved oxygen is high during the day, due to photosynthetic oxygen production, but plummets at night when aquatic animals, plants and microbes are all respiring, i.e. consuming oxygen. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, dissolved oxygen concentrations below 4.8 mg/L (yellow line) are chronically stressful to aquatic life; concentrations below 2.3 mg/L (red line) acutely limit juvenile and adult aquatic animal survival. 

It's evident that fish and other aquatic animals often experience chronically, and sometimes acutely, stressful conditions in the diked Herring River. 
New Education Programs Honor Founder's Legacy
Friends of Herring River has established two educational programs in memory of its late President, Don Palladino, who passed away this past spring.
The annual Donald J. Palladino Scholarship offers a  $1,000 scholarship to a Nauset Regional High School senior who has been accepted at an accredited college or university and intends to major in Natural Science, Environmental Science/Studies or Engineering.
The Donald J. Palladino Fellowship is a  $3,000 fellowship for an otherwise unpaid internship that will contribute to the scientific knowledge of the natural resources of the estuaries of Wellfleet Harbor.

Information about application procedures for either program is available by sending an email to:

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