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Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program

Town of Falmouth 2001 Grant Awards

Buzzards Bay NEP Awards Falmouth Grants for Herring Restoration and Stormwater Remediation

As part of an ongoing municipal environmental minigrant program, the Buzzards Bay NEP National Estuary Program awarded in August 2001 that it had awarded $35,000 to the Town of Falmouth for two environmental restoration projects in North Falmouth, near the shores of Buzzards Bay.

The Town will receive a $19,000 herring run restoration grant for the design and replacement of an undersized culvert under Chester St. in North Falmouth. The culvert connects the upper portions of Rand Canal to Cedar Lake, and is one of only three remaining active herring runs on the Buzzards Bay side of Falmouth. Presently the culvert is a rusted eight-inch pipe that is partially blocked, making the passage of herring into Cedar Lake difficult. The culvert will be replaced with an eighteen-inch concrete culvert, which will facilitate the passage of herring into the pond. Each spring herring migrate from the ocean to fresh water ponds to lay eggs. Young and adult herring are food for many birds, mammals, and recreational game fish, and are an important species in coastal ecosystems.

The second grant, which is for $16,000, will fund engineering designs to remediate and treat stormwater discharges at Curly Boulevard into Dam Pond which flows into Wild Harbor River in North Falmouth. This river is also a herring run. Stormwater discharges from the site are believed to be contributing to water quality degradation in the pond and downstream in the harbor. This project will both improve habitat for herring and reduce fecal coliform loadings to the Wild Harbor River estuary. After the designs are complete, the Buzzards Bay NEP will work with the town to secure construction funds.

According to the Project Director Dr. Joe Costa, stormwater discharges from streets, driveways, parking lots, and other surfaces contain fecal bacteria that contribute to shellfish bed and swimming beach closures in many coastal areas. The Curley Boulevard discharges contribute to the shellfish bed closure in the Wild Harbor River. Costa explained "rain collected by stormwater pipes carries with it feces from pets and wildlife, sewage from failing septic systems, oil and other pollutants from cars, and fertilizers from lawns and farms. In some cases, the best solution is to treat the stormwater, but when there are direct sewage discharges from cesspools or failing septic systems, it is also very important to fix these problems directly."

The Buzzards Bay NEP indicated it will provide assistance to the Town of Falmouth in obtaining any necessary permits for the projects. Dr. Costa commended Falmouth Shellfish Constable Paul Montague and Department of Natural Resources Director Mark Patton for initiating these efforts, adding "they have been doing a really great job getting these kinds of projects off the ground."