- Division of Ecological Restoration
On May 6, DER, NOAA, the Town of Falmouth, Coonamessett River Trust, and over 100 individuals representing project partners, family, friends and members of the community celebrated the completion of Phase 1 of the Coonamessett River Restoration Project. This phase, which kicked off in October 2017, included removal of the first dam from the ocean on the Coonamessett River, as well as restoration of wetlands and riverine habitat in an 11-acre former cranberry bog just upstream of the dam. Speakers included Susan Moran, Chairman of the Falmouth Board of Selectman, Rep. David Vieira, Troy Clarkson, District Liaison for the Office of Viriato DeMacedo, Jim Turek of the NOAA Restoration Center, Jessica Whritenour of the 300 Committee Land Trust, Wendi Buesseler of the Coonamessett River Trust, and DER’s own Director, Beth Lambert. Other activities included a formal ribbon cutting ceremony, site tours, and a PIT tagging demonstration (Passive Integrated Transponder tagging is a means of tracking the migratory habits of fish, in this case, herring.)
Phase 2 is currently in the design and permitting phase, and will include removal of the next dam upstream, replacement of a failing culvert carrying John Parker Road over the Coonamessett River and restoration of wetlands and riverine habitat within the remaining 26 acres of the former cranberry bog held by the Town. Construction is anticipated to kick off in the fourth quarter of this year. This project will improve in-stream and riparian habitat, providing significant benefits to fish (particularly river herring) and other wildlife, as well as provide improved access for passive recreation and year-round programming.
Photo Left: DER’s Beth Lambert and partners at May 6 celebration, photo courtesy of Christopher Neill. Middle and right: The site after completion of Phase 1 of the Coonamessett River Restoration Project.