aerial view of Lower Herring River Basin
Lower Herring River Basin and Chequessett Neck Road Dike

Tidal Wetlands – Tide Restriction

Wellfleet and Truro, MA

Encompassing nearly 1,000 acres and over 6 miles of waterways, the Herring River in Wellfleet and Truro is one of the largest tidally-restricted estuaries in the northeastern United States.  Historically, the river supported a vibrant, regionally-important estuary in the Gulf of Maine and hosted one of the most important diadromous fish runs on Outer Cape Cod.  Construction of a dike at the mouth of the river in 1909 and other alterations to the river system effectively eliminated tidal flow, drained the salt marshes, and transformed the estuary into one of Cape Cod’s most degraded natural resources.

DER is working with many partners to plan the restoration of the estuary by replacing the main river dike with a new structure that will allow controlled reintroduction of tidal flow while protecting existing land uses that now occupy portions of the historic flood plain.  The tremendous complexity of the project, while daunting, is surpassed by its critical importance to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of the region.

Building on over 20 years of research and development work, project partners achieved a significant milestone in 2012 with completion of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement / Report.  This document sets the foundation for future design, permitting, landowner outreach, and other project development activities.  Over the next several years, partners will also be working to secure project funding and hope to begin construction in the 2016-2017 timeframe.

Herring River Estuary Restoration Project Fact Sheet  pdf format of Herring River Estuary Restoration Project
file size 2MB

Project Photos

Existing Dike Culverts
Existing Dike Culverts
1970s Dike Reconstruction
1970s Dike Reconstruction