State Awards $700,000 to Wellfleet’s Herring River Restoration Project

COURTESY FRIENDS OF HERRING RIVER

WELLFLEET –The Baker-Polito Administration has announced a $700,000 state grant to advance the Herring River Estuary restoration in Wellfleet and Truro, one of the largest ecological restoration projects in the Northeast.

The grant leverages a total of $985,000 in funding for the project in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center.

“Our administration is committed to continuing our support for restoring and protecting Cape Cod’s natural environment, a critical factor for the region’s economy and quality of life,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Restoration projects like the Herring River Estuary are an important component of our strategy to increase Massachusetts’ resilience to the effects of climate change.”

Spanning over 1,000 acres across the Cape Cod National Seashore and the towns of Wellfleet and Truro, the Herring River Estuary hosts one of the largest river and wetland systems on Cape Cod.

In 1909, a dike was built across the river’s mouth, severing its connection to Wellfleet Harbor and the life-giving tides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The project will rebuild the main dike at the river’s mouth and make other improvements across the estuary, allowing carefully controlled restoration of tidal flow to the ecosystem while protecting low-lying roads and other structures from flooding.

Reconnecting the estuary to the ocean will improve water quality, increase habitat productivity for fisheries and other wildlife, restore large areas of shellfish beds, and enhance boating, fishing, and other commercial and recreational opportunities.

The $700,000 grant from DER will support engineering design and permitting to prepare the project for construction. The project is being managed by Friends of Herring River, a nonprofit organization based in Wellfleet.

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