Herring River Restoration Committee

General Information

The Herring River Restoration Committee (HRRC) was formed through a Memorandum of Understand (MOU II) with the Town of Wellfleet and the Cape Cod National Seashore. The MOU II was developed after 2+ years of work by the Herring River Technical Committee (HRTC). The HRTC was tasked by the Wellfleet Board of Selectmen and Cape Cod National Seashore to assess the effects of restoring tidal flow to the Herring River, which has been isolated from the marine environment by a dike built in 1909.

In 2006 a letter went out to all abutters of the Herring River indicating that mapping to assess the effects of tidal restoration on private properties indicates that some portion of their property is within or abutting the tidal flood plain. Importantly, the effects of proposed tidal restoration would be limited to existing wetlands. Studies have shown that any effects on existing wells and septic systems are unlikely; however, depending on the specific location, changes in wetland vegetation may be substantial, with existing trees and shrubs replaced by salt-marsh grasses. For this reason, the HRTC solicited comments, questions and concerns from all property owners who live near the estuary and who may see a change on their land, or even in their vista, should tidal restoration proceed. Besides the vegetation changes, tidal restoration is expected to improve water quality and re-establish the rich finfish and shellfish resources that historically occupied the Herring River estuary.

In November 2007 the MOU II was signed, and thus the HRRC was created. The HRRC will:

  • Review the Herring River Conceptual Restoration Plan (CRP) accepted under the MOU II. To link to the CRP website click here.
  • Review all scientific and engineering reports in support of the CRP
  • Develop a Detailed Restoration Plan that addresses environmental and social concerns through an integrated MEPA/NEPA process of alternative analysis and public involvement;
  • Develop a Detailed Restoration Plan that is suitable for local, state and federal permitting requirements and procedures.
  • Seek funding sources.
  • Inform the public on a regular basis through public meetings, reports or other forms of outreach, in addition to the public process required by MEPA and NEPA.
  • Produce a third MOU for the Towns’ and CCNS’s approval, agreeing to collaborate on project implementation per the detailed restoration plan.
  • Deliver products of the MEPA/NEPA process.

Board Members

Name Title
Hillary Greenberg-Lemos Wellfleet Representative
Gary Joseph Wellfleet Representative
Tim Smith Cape Cod National Seashore Representative
Hunt Durey MA Division of Ecological Restoration Representative
Stephen Spear National Restoration Conservation Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Representative
Eric Derleth U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Representative
Steve Block NOAA Restoration Center Representative
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