While we are busy with our efforts to remove the dam at Wapping Road we are also working on restoring other portions of the watershed. Our most active site right now is the lower portion of Pine Brook. Pine Brook and the Jones River are both coldwater, groundwater fed streams. Pine Brook contains some of the best potential for aquatic species habitat in the system that could serve as a source of ecological recovery of the Jones. Today, Pine Brook suffers from a number of impairments including reduced flows, a series of small barriers and restrictions, limited stream bank vegetation and cover, and poor water quality. At least eight small barriers exist on Pine Brook (debris dams, culverts, and flow diversions for historic cranberry bogs). The impoundments and channelized brook present poor fish habitat as temperatures are unnaturally high and dissolved oxygen is often quite low. Now that these bogs are no longer active and the land is owned by the town, these structures may be removed to restore natural flow throughout the brook. We are currently working to determine the flows necessary to enhance and maintain the habitat conditions necessary to support native fish fauna. The goal is also to increase the amount of habitat available to the fish and mussels in Pine Brook and Jones River within the range of available flows to enhance the resilience and survival of the species.
One of the best things we have going for us here is that the town owns a huge portion of land that Pine Brook runs through…the Cranberry Watershed Preserve. Because of the public landownership there is a high potential for successful and rapid implementation of restoration plans.
An exciting part of the project is the opportunity to partner with the teachers and students at Silver Lake High School. The Preserve is literally in the backyard of the school and makes for a great outdoor classroom. The school’s horticulture program students are conducting species inventories and water quality testing, while the video program is documenting all of the activities and starting to create short films that will be available on line. We’ll get them posted as soon as they are available. Yesterday we went out and did recon of the site with some of the students and discussed the baseline monitoring needs.
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