Historic Herring Run Restored At Bog Pond In Waquoit 10-22-16

Historic Herring Run Restored At Bog Pond In Waquoit
The Falmouth Enterprise

A historic herring run at Bog Pond will soon be restored by town and state officials, thanks to the help of an environmentally-conscious neighbor.

The herring run, which is located near Takemmeh Way in Waquoit, was one of a handful of local runs that the state identified as needing attention, herring warden R. Charles Martinsen III said.

That was eight years ago, and the herring run had not been improved since. Mr. Martinsen said the area is inhabited by herring and American eels, but both have had trouble traveling into Bog Pond to spawn in recent years. The marine animals travel from Waquoit Bay into a chain of neighboring ponds including Caleb Pond, Bog Pond and eventually Bourne Pond.

Although it is a public fishery, the herring run itself is on private property, accessible only through a residential backyard at 26 Takemmeh Way.

However, Mr. Martinsen said that the owners of the property, Robert W. and Dorothy J. Simpson, obtained a conservation easement for the property to allow the town access for reconstruction and maintenance of the herring run.

In fact, Mr. Simpson was the one who pushed town officials to repair the dilapidated fish ladder.

Mr. Martinsen commended Mr. Simpson for planning ahead to protect the natural resource.

"That's really of critical importance because if someone else ended up being there, we could've had issues accessing the area," he said.

Funding for the project came from money left over from the fish ladder project at Bay Road Extension in North Falmouth, completed in 2013 with federal and local funding.

The Town of Falmouth contributed $175,000 toward that project, but Mr. Martinsen said that the department of public works was able to save money on the project by completing most of the work with town and state employees.

The project in Waquoit, too, is being completed by employees of the Falmouth Department of Marine and Environmental Services and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

Mr. Martinsen said the deteriorating run posed significant hurdles for herring trying to travel from Caleb Pond into Bog Pond. When they first began work, he said, herring could be seen waiting in the water, gearing up to pass through.

The workers themselves have had to jump some hurdles along the way as well.

The herring run is located deep in the woods; in order to access it, project workers had to cross Mr. Simpson's backyard in a truck and then squeeze and wind the truck about a quarter mile through a wooded area.

The team could not bring a cement truck into the woods, and had to stir about two pallets of 80-pound bags of cement on site with a hand tumbler.

Despite the arduous process, the run is on its way to completion, and Mr. Martinsen said the three-week project has gone quickly compared to other herring run restorations.

In the past two weeks, the team drained Bog Pond, dug out the old structure and laid a new floor for the herring run. On Thurday morning, October 13, staff poured the concrete to rebuild the headwalls of the fish ladder.

Once again, Mr. Martinsen said the town would save on costs by completing the work with mostly state and town employees. In addition, the department also received discounted lumber from Falmouth Lumber for the renovations.

Once completed, the Bog Pond herring run renovations will cost about $25,000.

In the next phase of the project, Mr. Martinsen also hopes to widen a connection between Bog Pond and Bourne Pond to increase the spawning acreage of the herring. Mr. Martinsen said the two ponds were previously one large body of water, but a causeway built between the two has since separated them.

The herring run currently accommodates fewer fish than other runs in Falmouth, but Mr. Martinsen said it will likely improve over time.

"We anticipate that in the next six or seven years we'll start to see an increase in the count of herring spawning and swimming in the area," he said.

The restoration will also likely result in an increase in the number of large fish, such as striped bass, in the northern end of Waquoit Bay, since many large marine animals feed on herring.

The project is slated to be finished sometime within the next two weeks. Some of the excess concrete from the old structure will be donated to the Town of Yarmouth, to be upcycled for an artificial reef fish project.

From Forum

Herring Public Forum Exemption to Wetland Act for herring protection
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Run Counts 2015 Herring Counts
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Management Town Brook alewives get a free ride to Billington Sea
KnightofNi > 29-April-2016

Herring Public Forum River Herring Migration Series at WHOI
KnightofNi > 30-April-2015

Eels Fines Increased for Herring Poaching
Jones River > 15-April-2015

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