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Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

Town of Falmouth, MA Information

Sub-pages: Gifford St. violation |  West Falmouth Harbor Eutrophication |  Falmouth Wetland regs | 

Related Pages: Hurrican Floyd impact on Falmouth |  2007 Nor'easter Impacts: Falmouth | 

Town of Falmouth Website

Town of Falmouth interactive GIS page

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Information Page on Falmouth

Government

Address: Town Hall, 59 Town Hall Square, Falmouth, MA 02540. Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; phone: (508) 548-7611; Fax: (508) 457-2511
Form of Government: Board of Selectmen (5 members) with Town Manager (Julian M. Suso)
Elected Town Meeting members
Board of Selectmen Meetings: Monday evenings. Chairman: Doug Jones, Chairman; Susan L. Moran, Vice Chairman; Mary Pat Flynn, Rebecca Moffitt, Samuel H. Patterson

Conservation: 508-495-7445
Health: 508-495-7485
Planning: 508-495-7440
Selectmen: 508-495-7320


Locus Map of Town of Falmouth
Falmouth Locus Map
Open 150 kb size map.

2003 parcels on 2001 aerial
Map of Falmouth Parcels, circa 2003
Open 110 kb size map.
Open 500 kb size map.

Topographic Map of the Town of Falmouth
Falmouth Topographic Map
Open 100 kb size map.
Open 460 kb size map.

MA DEP Core wetlands in Falmouth, MA
Falmouth Core Wetlands
Open 150 kb size map.
Open 750 kb size map.

1999 land use map of Falmouth, MA
MassGIS Land Use Map of Falmouth (1985 vs. 1999)
Open 170 kb size map.
Open 450 kb size map.

thumbnail of Falmouth open space map
Falmouth Protected Open Space
Open 150 kb map
Open 450 kb map

Demographics

2000 Population (2000 U.S. Census): 32,660 (percent increase=16.8%)
1990 Population (1990 U.S. Census): 27,960
Population in Buzzards Bay basin estimated at 9,554 in 1990;
2000 Housing Units: 20,055; (including unoccupied)
Average Persons per Unit: 1.63 (based on year round occupancy, summer occupancy closer to 2.8


County: Barnstable

Land Use and Geography

Total Land Area: 44.52 sq. mi (18.92 sq. miles in Buzzards Bay basin);
Population Density: 628 persons per sq. mile



Permitted Pollution Discharges and Toxic Waste Generators

EPA's enviro-mapper showing surface water dischargers or waste generators.Groundwater dischargers are not shown.

Falmouth 2007 NPDES Phase II MS4 permit annual report

Falmouth Wetland Regs and the Conservation Commission

Falmouth Wetland Regulations.
In Massachusetts, implementation of the state wetland regulations is delegated to municipal Conservation Commissions. These Conservation Commissions, generally made up of 5 or 7 volunteer members, are appointed by Town Boards of Selectmen or City Councils. Under Massachusetts Home Rule legislation, municipalities may also adopt local bylaws that are more stringent or better reflect local needs than regulations under the state's Wetlands Protection Act. Most Buzzards Bay municipalities have adopted these local bylaws. On this page you will find new revised wetland regulations that the Town of Falmouth is about to adopt. In 1987, the Town of Falmouth adopted through Town Meeting its current wetland bylaw and regulations. In 1997, the Buzzards Bay NEP is helping the town rewrite these regulations to bring them up to date and to be more consistent with the State's Wetland Protection Act regulations."

Do you know what your Conservation Commission does? The Falmouth Conservation Commission wanted to better communicate their mission, and wanted builders to better understand their stormwater regulations. At their request, the Buzzards Bay NEP prepared these two fact sheets:

Falmouth Wetland Regulations brochure for the general public (129 kb pdf)

Falmouth Wetland Stormwater Regulations brochure for developers (132 kb pdf)

Zoning Information

Zoning Map as a PDF file (450 kb)
Special Permits and Site Plan Review Regulations as a PDF file (150 kb)
Minimum Lot Dimension Regulations as a PDF file (95kb)
Coastal Pond Overlay Protection Districts Map (695kb)


Falmouth, MA Public Boat Ramps

Ashumet Pond (freshwater) a State ramp on Currier Rd. Public Access Board Map    Google Map
Town Ramp, Menauhant Rd., Green Pond Google Map
Great Pond - Harrington St. Google Map
Falmouth Inner Harbor Google Map
West Falmouth Harbor, Old Dock Road Google Map
Megansett Harbor, County Road, North Falmouth Google Map
Waquoit Bay - Seapit Rd., East Falmouth
Waquoit Bay - Seapit Rd., East Falmouth
Whites Landing- Childs River
Water St. adjacent to Woods Hole at Aquarium

Public Beaches

Menauhant Beach, East Falmouth
Falmouth Heights Beach
Bristol Beach on Vineyard Sound
Woodneck Beach Near Little Sippewisset Marsh on Buzzards Bay
Old Silver Beach, Quaker Rd., No. Falmouth
Surf Drive Beach, Surf Drive, Falmouth.
Stony Beach, Woods Hole
Chappaquoit Beach, West Falmouth
Megansett Beach, North Falmouth

Falmouth, MA Beach Information from Town of Falmouth website

1999's Floyd caused modest damage at Falmouth, MA site
[click on picture for more info]
Town of Falmouth front end load working at a beach after Hurricane Floyd.

Potential Wetland Restoration Sites

The following downloads are excerpts from our report Selected Inventory of Potential Wetland Restoration Sites in the Buzzards Bay Watershed. Click the links to open the files in your web browser, or right click to save to your computer. Graphics on these pdf files has been degraded to reduce file size. Request a CD if this report (click the above link for more info)to obtain higher resolution pdf files.

Appendix 3. Sites in Falmouth (0.7 MB pdf file).

Site Locus Map for Falmouth (0.7 MB pdf file).


Reports/Correspondence/Other

In December 2005, the Buzzards Bay NEP wrote the Falmouth Board of selectmen a letter (view as a 1.3 MB pdf file -includes maps and photos) to encourage the town to consider restoring tidally restricted salt marshes during its planned 6.2-mile expansion of the Shining Sea Bike Path in Falmouth. The bike path is being built on the old railroad bed that borders portions of Buzzards Bay, and crosses the Great Sippewissett Salt Marsh, a large and scenic marsh that is also ecologically important. These tidal restrictions were identified in the BBNEP's 2002 Atlas of Tidally Restricted Salt Marshes in Buzzards Bay.

The restoration is needed because culverts installed during construction of the railroad bed more than a century ago, have subsided, collapsed, become filled, or were altered in later years, increasingly isolating the salt marshes east of the tracks from the beneficial effects of tidal flushing from Buzzards Bay. Some problems were also the result of Hurricane Bob in 1991, when track bed ballast was washed into salt marsh areas east of the tracks, channels became filled, and a new culvert was installed at the wrong elevation after the hurricane.

Sippewisset tidal restrictions.

In January, we learned that others were interested in restoring these wetlands. Interested parties included the wildlife protection non-profit Ducks Unlimited, some local residents, and a Falmouth engineering firm.

In a January meeting organized by Ducks Unlimited with Town officials and state and federal regulators, it was agreed that it would be best if the wetland restoration designs and and permitting be conducted separately from the planned bike path expansion permitting. In this way, the wetland restoration project would not delay in any way the ongoing bike path expansion work.

Tidal restriction FA28.

Presently the Buzzards Bay NEP is providing technical support to Ducks Unlimited to evaluate the sites. We are also supporting DU in their efforts use private donations to leverage federal grant funds to pay for these wetland restoration projects.

Falmouth Wetland Violation Case on Penzance Point
A property owner cleared and filled roughly 10,000 square feet of wetland on Penzance Point Road in Woods Hole in Falmouth (area of red arrows between tennis court and structure). The case is unusual in part because the property owner offered to donate $400,000 to the town of Falmouth for wetland restoration projects in lieu of fully restoring the site. Read the Falmouth Enterprise article on this case to learn more. However, on November 30, the owner withdrew the offer and stated that they would restore the wetlands instead. Photos below taken from MassGIS website.

Wetland Loss Associated with Lawn creation.

Green lines show the minimum extent of wetlands based on aerial photograph interpretation by Massachusetts DEP. The actual extent of wetlands may be greater than that shown.



February 7, 2005 talk to Dock and Pier Workgroup (330 kb pdf file).

Follow-up response to questions about quorums on the Falmouth Conservation Commission (12/3/04 74 kb pdf file)

Response to a question about quorums on the Falmouth Conservation Commission (10/5/04 74 kb pdf file)

BBP review of a technical report on a proposed culvert replacement to improve tidal flow to a salt marsh at Little Island in West Falmouth (7/23/03 pdf file)
Our review illustrates what kinds of complex issues can surround a tidal restriction salt marsh restoration project, and a common sense approach for evaluating proposed designs.

Comments relating to Cape Cod Commission Hearing on Falmouth Wastewater Treatment Plant 11/4/99

Buzzards Bay NEP August 1996 report on West Falmouth Harbor watershed and Sewage Treatment Plant nitrogen contributions

Buzzards Bay NEP correspondence to facilities manager on N loading calculations

Buzzards Bay NEP October 9, 1997 report on Falmouth Sewage Treatment Facility

Correspondence at start of BBP involvement with Town of Falmouth Bogs (1996) -12 kb PDF.


Correspondence on Falmouth DPW Gifford Street road work

Only occasionally does the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program file a Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) for a project under the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act. In August 2004, the Buzzards Bay NEP filed a RDA with the Falmouth Conservation Commission for their failure to require a permit for roadwork by the Falmouth Department of Public Works for activity on Gifford Street, near Sols Pond. The DPW's activity was causing ongoing erosion of the pond bank and discharge of mud and silt into the pond. The Falmouth Conservation Commission issued a Negative Determination to our request, saying that the DPW did not need a permit. In September 2004, after visiting the site, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection appealed the Conservation Commission's decision, and issued a Superseding Determination, saying the DPW did need a permit. To learn more about these events, go to our Gifford Street Wetlands Case page.

Clausen Corner Case and Stormwater Review

The correspondence below relates to a project in which the Falmouth Conservation Commission asked the Buzzards Bay NEP to provide a technical review of stormwater treatment from a proposed commercial development site along Rt. 151. The Conservation Commission agreed with Buzzards Bay NEP's analysis on how stormwater needs to be treated according to the Town's regulations. Our work on this case led to the BBP developing for the Town a stormwater management brochure for developers because we recognized there was considerable confusion among town personnel and applicants about the implementation of the local and state wetland stormwater regulations (note January 2003 letter). An important message in the brochure was that the Falmouth Planning Board regulations for stormwater management do not meet either the state or local wetland bylaw requirements. Developers that discharge stormwater to wetlands must design stormwater treatment for the most rigorous state or local standard.

Buzzards Bay NEP acceptance of Clauson Corner Review (12/03/02)

Buzzards Bay NEP's review of Clauson Corner Project (12/06/02)

Buzzards Bay NEP's response to comments on Clauson Corner Project (1/7/03)

Buzzards Bay NEP's final review of Clauson Corner Project stormwater designs (2/24/03)



BBP Cranberry Bog Initiative and Falmouth Coonamessett Bog

Our proposed separation of the Coonamessett River from the Town of Falmouth cranberry bog was terminated by the discovery of an EDB plume entering the Coonamessett River from the Mass Military Reservation. The EDB plume is now being treated, and Falmouth is once again is examining ways of separating the bog from the River.

Buzzards Bay NEP 1996 letter, responding to a Conservation Commission inquiry about pesticide release from their bog
Buzzards Bay NEP 1997 319 Proposal on a Cranberry Bog Initiative and Falmouth-Owned Cranberry Bog
BBP notification of award of funds in 1997
Meeting with Selectmen
Post EDB contamination discovery, alteration of proposal to retain funding
Letter to Falmouth Conservation Commission regarding pesticide application on Cranberry Bogs in 1998
March 13, 2003 letter to Falmouth Conservation Commission regarding management options for the town bogs

Buzzards Bay NEP PowerPoint Presentation to Falmouth Bog Committee on December 11, 2003 webpage version or try this pdf version of 2003 Falmouth bogs presentation.

BBP letter to the Town Of Falmouth on legal authorities of Conservation Commission over conservation lands
We were mistaken about lease funds being deposited in the town's Conservation Fund. Read the letter to learn more about the 1995 Department of Revenue legal opinion we discovered.

Fact sheet on Wetland Reserve Program 2008 Farm Bill Fact sheet
Farmers can restore wetlands and get paid for lost land value.

Q&A from Wetland Reserve Program 2008 Farm Bill Update

USDA Manual for Wetland Reserve Program 2008 Farm Bill update

Link to a Falmouth bog restoration group called Coonamessett River Park Coalition

Link to a Falmouth bog preservation group called Save Our Bogs

Click here to visit our cranberry bog information page

Important external link:Falmouth Enterprise Article, August 31, 2004, Demo Project Proposed

Important external link:Falmouth Enterprise Article, February 25, 2005, Committee Divided

for the latest info:

Town of Falmouth - Coonamessett River Restoration Working Group webpage


Falmouth Wetland Regulations (developed with the assistance of the Buzzards Bay NEP).

Mapped Tidal restrictions for Falmouth: (Note: we recently discovered additional sites along the railroad tracks and these will be included in a future draft of our report. Go to our main page for the description and information about these sites.)

Falmouth Links

Falmouth Town SealTown of Falmouth, Official Home Page

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Information Page on Falmouth

Nature's Circle: A Falmouth Environmental Group with regularly scheduled field trips and lectures.

Falmouth Associations Concerned with Estuaries and Saltponds (FACES).

UNH site with 1893 historic topo maps of Falmouth



Town Officials (Environmental and Planning Departments)

Conservation Commission (and term end)
Russell Robbins, Chairman, June 30, 2017
Michael Powers, Vice-Chairman June 30, 2016
Mario DiGregorio, June 30, 2016
Mary Schumacher, June 30, 2017
Jonathan Polloni, June 30, 2016
Maureen Harlow-Hawkes, June 30, 2017
Jamie Mathews, June 30, 2017
Elizabeth Gladfelter, June 30, 2016
Courtney Bird, June 30, 2016

Conservation Department 508-495-7445
Administrator: Jennifer L. McKay
Agent: Mark Kasprzyk


Health Department
Health Agent: David Carignan 508-495-7485
Scott McGann, Assistant Health Agent

Board of Health
Jared Goldstone, Chairperson
Gail A. Harkness
George Heufelder
Stephen Rafferty
John Waterbury
Note: This is the only appointed Board of Health in the watershed

Planning Department
Town Planner: Brian A. Currie, AICP
Assistant Town Planner: Marlene V. McCollem, AICP

Planning Board (elected)
Jim Fox,Chairman [2017]
Patricia H. Kerfoot, Vice Chairman (2016)
Paul Dreyer, Clerk/Secretary (2016)
Robert Leary (May 2018)
Kenneth Medeiros (May 2017)
Ralph E. Herbst (2017)<
Douglas C. Brown (May 2018]
) Zoning Board of Appeals (appointed)
Chairman - Kimberly Bielan
Vice Chairman - Kenneth Foreman
Clerk - Terrence Hurrie
Edward Van Keuren
Paul Murphy
Associate - Mark Cool & John Sutherland


Public Works
Director of Public Works, Raymond A. Jack: (508) 495-2543
Town Engineer Peter M. McConarty, P.E., P.L.S.
Wastewater Superintendent, Gerald Potamis P.E. (508) 495-7340

Marine and Environmental Services
Director Gregg Fraser, 508-457-2550
Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director: Chuck Martinsen
Natural Resource Officer: Sarah Brooks 508-495-2536

Harbor Master & Town Marina
Chief Harbor Master: Gregg P. Fraser 508-457-2550
Location: Falmouth Harbor 180 Scranton Avenue

Helpful Falmouth Telephone Numbers

Falmouth Enterprise Town Numbers Page

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Economic Profile of Falmouth