Resource Management Plan
Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Towns of Falmouth and Mashpee
Division of State Parks and Recreation
The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve RMP was adopted by the DCR Stewardship Council on July 27, 2006.
The Waquoit Bay Reserve on Cape Cod is composed of more than 2,700
acres of aquatic and terrestrial habitat, including open waters,
barrier beaches, sand dunes, fresh and salt marshes, rivers, and
mixed pine and oak forests. The Reserve includes South Cape Beach
State Park, Washburn Island, the Quashnet Woods Area and several
other areas which host miles of hiking trails. Much of the Reserve
is located within the state-designated Waquoit Bay Area of Critical
Environmental Concern (ACEC). The Waquoit Bay Reserve is supported
by the “friends group,” Citizens for the Protection
of Waquoit Bay.
The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a component
of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), a federal-state
partnership of protected research sites.
The mission of the Reserve is to improve stewardship of the region's
estuarine and coastal watershed ecosystems. Five goals describe
the Reserve's integrated program areas:
- Improve the understanding of coastal ecosystems and the human
influences on them.
- Improve environmental literacy in our communities to enable
people to make conscious, environmentally-sustainable personal
- Demonstrate sustainable stewardship of the land and water ecosystems
within the Reserve to serve as a model for community stewardship
in the region.
- Foster dialogue and development of solutions to coastal ecosystem
management issues through sustained engagement with communities.
- Improve the operations, infrastructure and stature of the Reserve.
The Research and Monitoring Program conducts and supports research
to advance our understanding of coastal ecosystems and human influences
on them. The Education and Training program draws upon research
findings to develop and present a variety of educational programming
for audiences as diverse as coastal decision-makers, community members,
and school children. The Stewardship Program is responsible for
managing Reserve lands and waters and serving as a model for coastal
management in the region. Priority is given to the conservation
and sustainable use of ecological resources, while balancing the
needs of research and recreation. Stewardship decisions are informed
by research and, conversely, stewardship activities help to further
scientific understanding of coastal ecosystems.