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Herring River Restoration Project, Wellfleet (MA)

Funding for these projects was provided by MassBays to Friends of Herring River, Truro, Inc.

Part 1: Hydrodynamic Modeling (2013)

The Herring River Restoration Project in Wellfleet and Truro is the largest tidal restoration project in New England, encompassing over 1,000 acres of degraded estuarine habitat. Part of the restoration process involves construction of a new dike and tidal control structure at the mouth of the Herring River. Through modeling, this MassBays-funded project evaluated the hydraulic performance of the re‐designed dike, culverts, and the proposed tidal control structures; conducted studies to ensure that the proposed tidal control structure and operational strategy provide the required tidal control flexibility, while minimizing costs and complexity; and provided information on the development of an adaptive approach to achieve restored tidal conditions with minimal risk to property and the environment. More information about the project can be found on the Friends of the Herring River website.

Part 2: Fish passage assessment and design in the Upper Herring River (2014)

The Herring River flows into Wellfleet Harbor at the Chequessett Neck Dike. Historically the Herring River was a major passageway for diadromous fish including blueback herring, alewife and American eel to spawning ponds. Fish counts totaled hundreds of thousands each year. The fish traveled five miles along the main stem of the river to 166 acres of spawning and nursery habitat. However, construction of the Chequessett Neck Dike in 1909 blocked fish passage along the Herring River. After several decades of scientific study and research, a project to restore tidal exchange to the Herring River estuary is in development. Hydrologic modeling for this effort was funded by  MassBays grant program in 2013.

In 2014 funding was provided by MassBays to Friends of Herring River,Wellfleet/Truro, Inc. to address fish passage concerns in the upper watershed of Herring River. The primary objectives of the work included: 1) evaluating whether the existing stream crossing inhibit passage for anadromous alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) and blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) and catadromous American eel (Anguilla rostrata); and 2) assessing potential sources of erosion in the vicinity of the two stream crossing. 

Work performed as part of this study included assessing design options to remove impediments to fish passage for alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus),   blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) and American eel (Anguilla rostrata), and improve hydrologic connectivity and stream flow by replacement of existing culverts with stream crossings that would meet the criteria described in the Massachusetts River and Stream Crossings Standards. . An a topographic survey and preparation of existing conditions plans for the two stream crossing sites were conducted. The project report: Site Reconnaissance and Conceptual Design for Culvert Replacement - Herring River, Wellfleet, MA, presents observed conditions at the two culverts with respect to fish passage, bank stability and erosion control, presents and evaluates potential replacement stream crossing designs, and includes conceptual-level (30%) design materials for recommended replacement stream crossings at the two culverts.  Opinions of probable cost for design, permitting, and construction were developed for the recommended replacement stream crossings. For more details of the study, conclusions, and recommendations are available in the project report below.


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