Waquoit Reserve Invites Public To Help Guide Future

Waquoit Bay in Falmouth is part of the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Waquoit Bay in Falmouth is part of the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

WAQUOIT – The Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Falmouth is revising its management plan.

The public is encouraged to make comments about the five-year plan during the month of July.

James Rassman, stewardship coordinator and acting manager of the reserve, said the facility has a number of missions having to do with education and outreach.

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“We’re a research-oriented reserve but we’re different than  Woods Hole Oceanographic or MBL because we’re also a state park so we’re open to the public,” he said.

The 2,800-acre reserve includes public beaches on Waquoit Bay, wooded trails, and camp sites on Washburn Island.

“But we also have a lot of top-notch, world-class research going on,” he said.

One of the main missions, Rassman said, is to translate that coastal research for everyone from school children to teachers.

The visitor center at the Waquoit National Estuarine Research Reserve is in a former mansion overlooking Waquoit Bay.

The visitor center at the Waquoit National Estuarine Research Reserve is in a former mansion overlooking Waquoit Bay.

The reserve provides programming for school groups, a summer science school for children, workshops for teachers and sessions for scientists. Rassman said the five-year plan needs to meet the needs of all those groups.

“This is a chance to check back in with all those user groups to make sure that we’re getting it right and that we’re responding to new information and new demands and changes in the science,” he said.

Rassman said going forward, he sees the reserve as being involved in some of the major scientific work on the Cape, “helping to translate science into decision making” and “getting the science into decision makers hands.”

“With increasing awareness of the science of climate change, especially given the Cape and its exposure to increasing storm frequencies, increasing sea level rises, I think there needs to be the best science we can give in those areas and as local as we can get,” he said.

wbnerr03That research can be used to respond to issues on the Cape such as erosion, siting of infrastructure, storm preparedness, and storm response.

Those who want to comment on the plan or learn more about the reserve can go to www.waquoitbayreserve.org.