Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The Herring River Restoration Project is a joint project of the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Town of Wellfleet, and the Town of Truro, Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
The Herring River is the largest estuary on outer Cape Cod, encompassing more than 1,100 acres of degraded wetlands in a complicated network of five valleys: The Herring River, Mill Creek, Pole Dike Creek, Bound Brook, and Duck Harbor. The Chequessett Neck Road dike was built in 1908 at the mouth of the Herring River to restrict natural tidal flows. Ditches were constructed to drain the normally saturated flood plain soil. The once extensive salt marshes have been transformed into stands of invasive plants, shrubby thickets, and forests. The old salt marsh peat, deprived of the tides, has decomposed and compressed, sinking the surface of the flood plain as much as three feet. The decomposition of peat has released sulfuric acid that kills fish and other aquatic life, and low summertime dissolved oxygen has also harmed aquatic life.
The DEIS analyzes three action alternatives and the no action
Alternative B would employ an adaptive management strategy to restore tides in the lower reach of the Herring River up to a maximum high tide of approximately six feet. At this tide level flood mitigation of sensitive properties can be achieved without a secondary dike at Mill Creek.
Alternative C would employ an adaptive management strategy to restore tides up to the maximum Chequessett Neck Road dike capacity (10 foot vertical tide gate opening) with a new dike at Mill Creek that blocks all tidal influence. This alternative would maximize restoration in all sub-basins except Mill Creek. Mill Creek would remain unrestored, but no new flood proofing measures would be needed in Mill Creek.
Alternative D would employ an adaptive management strategy to restore tides up to the maximum Chequessett Neck Road dike capacity (10 foot vertical tide gate opening) with a new dike at Mill Creek. Mill Creek tides would be controlled by this secondary structure to the same level as that of Alternative B, the maximum level that can be achieved after flood proofing several low-lying properties. Tidal restoration would be maximized in all other sub-basins.
For Alternatives B and D, two options are considered for mitigating project impacts to the Chequessett Yacht & Country Club (CYCC) golf course, a private golf course in Mill Creek: (1) Raise low-lying fairways a minimum of two feet above proposed inundation levels, or (2) relocate low-lying fairways to an undeveloped upland area owned by CYCC.
Alternative D, with the option to raise existing low-lying fairways a minimum of two feet above proposed inundation levels, has been identified as the NPS Preferred Alternative. This alternative best fulfills the restoration objectives of the project while mitigating adverse impacts to developed properties.
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