State of Wellfleet Harbor Conference to Address Environmental Concerns

Wellfleet Harbor nearly inaccessible at low tide

Wellfleet Harbor nearly inaccessible at low tide

WELLFLEET – The restoration of the Herring River Estuary will be the focus of the 13th annual State of Wellfleet Harbor conference Saturday, November 7th from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Wellfleet Elementary School.

Scientists and town planning officials will show attendees how a process known as adaptive management is trying to improve natural tidal flow back into the Herring River Estuary.

Planning Committee member John Portnoy said tidal flow has been an issue since dikes were installed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

When the river mouth itself was blocked at one point, he said, Wellfleet Harbor went from 10 feet to 2 feet deep.

Now, a phased series of projects has been designed to raise levels safely.

“The overall approach is to build a structure that allows us to restore tides in stages and monitor the effects to make changes as we go along,” Portnoy said.

Results from surveys of fish and marsh bird populations will be discussed and, in addition, research detailing how salt marshes are critical to fighting climate change will be presented.

There will also be a presentation regarding last year’s increased sea turtle stranding incidents throughout the Cape, with a preview of an upcoming documentary on the topic.

The conference is free and open to the public.

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