Restoration Coordination Center Projects

What types of projects does the RCC work on?

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 Tidal RestorationParker’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

Fish RunUpper 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

Example StormwaterHyannis 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.

Project Examples

The Restoration Coordination Center supports restoration projects across the Cape and works with partners to identify opportunities to assist with funding, technical aspects, or management of projects.

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

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.

Falmouth Rod & Gun Club: Cranberry Bog and Stream Restoration

The restoration of a large portion of the Childs River, where it passed through two fallow cranberry bogs, irrigation ponds, earthen berms, and various undersized culverts, has been accomplished. This sensitive cold water fish habitat had been degraded by the warming effects of man-made irrigation ponds and deforestation around the bogs. The habitat connectivity had been lost due to a damaged fish ladder and undersized culvert. APCC provided support and assistance in project management.

Parkers River, Yarmouth: Tidal and Fish Run Restoration
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.

Sesuit Creek, Dennis: Tidal Restriction Post-Restoration Monitoring and Pilot Planting
Photo: UNH researchers working in the Sesuit Creek marsh.

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

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 with the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration and working closely with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to conduct additional field monitoring and a pilot planting of Spartina alterniflora.

Marstons Mills River, Barnstable: Fish Run Restoration

Upper Marstons Mills River, Barnstable: Fish Run Restoration.

Marstons Mills River, Barnstable: Fish Run Restoration

The Marstons Mills River herring run passes through several culverts and two fish ladders including a 1,100-foot long wooden fish passage structure before connecting to spawning habitat in Middle Pond. Both fish ladders at Mill Pond and Middle Pond are in need of redesign and replacement. APCC is supporting the town in securing grant funding to complete construction, working closely with the town and engineer on development of final design plans, helped coordinate additional herring run monitoring at Middle Pond to track project success, and is providing ongoing project planning, administrative and outreach support.