Restoration Coordination Center Projects

What types of projects does the RCC work on? (Click underlined text for examples.)

Salt marsh and fish run restoration projects that entail removal of tidal restrictions (human-created barriers such as undersized pipes or culverts (shown below), narrow bridge underpasses, or dams that limit or prevent natural tidal flow)and barriers to fish passage, to reestablish natural water flow, improve water quality, and restore habitat for native species.

Example Tidal Restoration Project: Parker’s River. A degraded and undersized bridge over Route 28 is restricting full tidal exchange to 153 acres of estuary, salt pond and salt marsh in the Parkers River. The new widened bridge opening will allow greater upstream tidal exchange resulting in improved salt marsh health, better flushing of nutrients, and improved fish passage. APCC is working with the project team to review design, permitting and construction plans and is providing pre- and post-restoration monitoring.

Example Fish Passage Project: Upper Shawme Pond Fish Ladder. This project involved the rebuilding of a failing dam, installation of a fish ladder (photo right), and restoration of a herring run that had been non-functional for more than 30 years. APCC helped the town of Sandwich to obtain grant funding and to monitor returning herring.

Stormwater management projects to protect and improve water quality and habitat through collection and treatment of polluted stormwater runoff.

Example Stormwater Installation: Hyannis Harbor Rain gardens, like this one installed by the town and the EPA at Hyannis Harbor (pictured below), collect and treat rainwater runoff from nearby roads and parking areas. This runoff can carry a variety of harmful pollutants including nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which can cause harmful algal blooms and low oxygen conditions in coastal waters. The inclusion of plants imitates natural wetland functions and helps remove excess nutrients and other pollutants before treated water is discharged into the harbor. APCC is working with towns and communities across the Cape to identify locations for similar stormwater installations around impaired waters.

Why is stormwater runoff a problem?

Stormwater runoff collects pollutants from the ground surface (bacteria from pet and wildlife waste, oil and gas from roadways, and fertilizers and pesticides applied to lawns and greenways) and discharges them into ponds, streams, and estuaries impairing water quality and contributing to beach closures, shellfish closures, and toxic algal blooms.

Coastal resilience projects, such as dune restoration, to protect the Cape’s environment and inhabitants from impacts of coastal storms and sea level rise. Coastal Resilience is the ability of a community to ‘bounce back’ after hazard events, such as hurricanes, coastal storms, and flooding, rather than simply reacting to impacts.

Active Projects

The Restoration Coordination Center is actively supporting the following restoration projects across the Cape and is working with partners to identify additional opportunities to assist with funding, technical aspects, or management of projects.

Three-Bays, Barnstable: Stormwater Management to Improve Water Quality

The water quality in the Three Bays watershed is severely degraded by nitrogen and bacteria resulting in algal blooms, degraded wildlife habitat, and closures of beaches and shellfish areas. Funded by the EPA Southeast New Program and Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management grants, the project team is conducting a watershed-wide survey, assessment, and prioritization to identify top priority sites for installation of new stormwater BMPs. Ultimately, two or more stormwater treatment systems will be installed to capture and treat stormwater runoff at top priority sites where the greatest amount of pollution can be removed. These installations will emphasize use of innovative “green” technology to maximize removal nitrogen and bacteria and improve the water quality in the bays. APCC secured the grant funding for this project and is serving as the project manager, organizing and conducting outreach activities, coordinating the project team, and managing project reporting.

Photo: The existing bridge at the route 28 crossing of Parkers River.

Parkers River, Yarmouth: Tidal and Fish Run Restoration

A degraded and undersized bridge over Route 28 is restricting full tidal exchange to 153-acres of estuary and salt marsh in the Parkers River. The 18-ft span bridge will be replaced with a longer span (30-ft) bridge that will allow optimal tidal exchange. Completion of this project will: 1) enhance the resiliency of the coastal zone to buffer storm surges by allowing floodwaters to retreat more quickly; 2) improve salt marsh health; 3) reduce water velocity and improve access for migratory fish species; 4) improve fish nursery habitat; 5) improve water quality and enhance shellfish resources; and 6) improve habitat for wetland-dependent migratory bird species. The bridge replacement will also provide a safer structure for transportation along a primary transportation corridor. APCC completed pre-restoration salt marsh monitoring in 2010 and 2011 and will be providing additional herring run and salt marsh monitoring before and after construction. APCC is working closely with the project team providing input and review of design plans and permit applications as well as support for funding and permit applications.

Photo: UNH researchers working in the Sesuit Creek marsh.

Sesuit Creek, Dennis: Tidal Restriction Post-Restoration Monitoring and Assessment

In 2008 tidal flow was restored to 57-acres of coastal salt marsh by replacement of the two-foot culvert under Bridge Street with twin 10-ft. by 12-ft. box culverts. The immediate result was the restoration of natural tidal flow to the upstream marsh with die-off of salt-intolerant upland plant species including the invasive Common Reed, Phragmites australis. While the overall response has been positive, the recovery has been slower than expected and large marsh areas remain bare without vegetation. Monitoring is underway to determine the potential cause of the slow recovery and to provide recommendations to improve the recovery and health of the marsh. APCC is managing the project in coordination the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration and working closely with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to conduct additional field monitoring and assessment.

Photo: Upstream restricted marsh area west of Crosby Lane.

Crosby Lane, Brewster: Stormwater, Beach Access, and Salt Marsh Restoration

Crosby Lane crosses a tributary stream of the Namskaket salt marsh near the entrance to the Crosby Landing Beach parking area. The road is low-lying and susceptible to flooding and the upstream marsh area is impacted by both stormwater runoff and lack of natural tidal exchange due to the restriction of the stream by the road. To improve resiliency to flooding and conditions in the upstream marsh area the Town is actively working on design and permitting with the assistance of their consultant, Horsley Witten Group. Planning for construction to replace the culvert and build a stormwater bio retention basin is underway. APCC is working with project partners to secure project funding and to develop and implement a restoration monitoring plan to meet the requirements of the Conservation Commission Order of Conditions including water level, water quality, and vegetation monitoring.

Upper Marstons Mills River, Barnstable: Fish Run Restoration

Upper Marstons Mills River, Barnstable: Fish Run Restoration

The Upper Marstons Mills River herring run passes through a 1,100-foot long wooden fish ladder structure before connecting to spawning habitat in Middle Pond. The fish ladder is currently in poor condition and in desperate need of repair. In addition to challenging passage through the fish ladder migratory river herring are also faced with the potential of impassable conditions due to low-water in times of drought and must overcome additional man-made barriers downstream. The Town is working on a long-term solution to the problem and at this site has plans to redesign and rebuild the fish ladder. APCC is working with project partners to secure grant funding to complete construction and is helping coordinate the pre- and post-restoration volunteer herring counting program to document the success of the project.

Photo: Mayo Creek salt marsh. Minimal tidal exchange has resulted in poor water quality and extensive phragmites invasion.

Mayo Creek, Wellfleet: Tidal Restoration

An undersized culvert running from the Mayo Creek salt marsh into Wellfleet Harbor is preventing flow of seawater into the marsh. As a result, the marsh has been overwhelmed by the invasive Common Reed, Phragmites australis. This project will likely consist of a partial tidal restoration to allow some, but not complete, tidal flow restoration to prevent flooding of surrounding low-lying properties. Project proponents received a grant for a feasibility study to be completed fall of 2016 and are seeking additional funds for pre-restoration planning. APCC has provided support and, as MassBays regional coordinator, will be working closely with the Mayo Creek Restoration Committee on this project. This has been identified as a project where APCC may provide technical assistance or restoration monitoring once findings of the feasibility study and planning are complete.

Photo: Upper Quashnet River bogs, just east of the entrance to John’s Pond.

Upper Quashnet River, Mashpee: Fish Passage and Habitat Restorationl

The Upper Quashnet River restoration consists of several components including: 1) fixing an erosion issue at the fish ladder where herring enter John’s Pond; 2) river re-alignment to fix issues with a failed berm and provide cold water habitat for brook trout; 3) restoration of a retired cranberry bog to a freshwater wetland; and 4) potential re-design and reconstruction of the fish ladder to improve herring passage into the pond. APCC has been participating in steering committee meetings, conducts training and coordinates annual herring run monitoring, is providing support seeking funding, and may provide technical assistance or project management pending the outcome of current proposals and available funding sources.

Photo: Gardner Bog, the northernmost bog to be restored to natural wetland during this project.

Falmouth Rod & Gun Club: Cranberry Bog and Stream Restoration

The Falmouth Rod & Gun Club is currently in the early planning phases of a holistic stream restoration project that will entail the restoration of a large portion of the Childs River where it passes through two fallow cranberry bogs, irrigation ponds, earthen berms, and various undersized culverts. This sensitive cold water fish habitat has been degraded by the warming effects of man-made irrigation ponds and deforestation around the bogs and lacks habitat connectivity due to a damaged fish ladder and an undersized culvert. APCC is providing ongoing support and input to the project manager.

Photo: Pamet River looking west from Truro Center Road. The river flows unobstructed to Cape Cod Bay from this point westward.

Pamet River, Truro: Tidal Restoration and Coastal Resilience Project

Three culverts under Route 6A, Route 6, and North Pamet Road restrict flow of the Pamet River, effectively dividing the system into one estuarine and one freshwater river system. Ocean overwash and erosion at Ballston beach during recent storms has caused flooding in the upper Pamet River as water is not able to quickly recede due to these downstream restrictions. Salt water flooding in the upper Pamet River also poses a threat to groundwater and septic systems. The project team is currently working with the Army Corps of Engineers to complete analysis of the culverts for potential restoration of the marsh that will alleviate the impacts of flooding from storms and deal with the erosion issue at the beach. APCC plans to assist with next steps of the project once this report is complete.

Learn more about Restoration and the Center

Restoration Funding Opportunities

Salt Marsh Restoration

Three Bays Stormwater Project