Plymouth, MA – Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner Mary Griffin joined local, state and federal officials to kick off construction of the Eel River Headwaters Restoration Project, which will restore 40 acres of former cranberry bogs to a variety of native wetland types, including an Atlantic white cedar swamp and nearly two miles of cold water riverine habitat. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles also announced that the Riverways and Wetland Restoration programs at DFG and EEA’s Office of Coastal Zone Management have merged to create a new Division of Ecological Restoration at DFG.
“I’m pleased to announce the groundbreaking on this project, which will not only help restore 40 acres of critical wetland habitat, but also support the local economy through construction and engineering jobs,” said Bowles. “The Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) is a first-in-the-nation state program established to holistically address aquatic habitat restoration.”
“The Eel River restoration project will benefit the community not only through job creation, but also by creating a beautiful environment for recreation and education while improving water quality and endangered species habitat.” State Representative Tom Calter said. “It will serve as a wonderful conservation model for the Commonwealth.”
The project will remove the Sawmill Dam that currently blocks upstream fish passage. It will also remove a series of water control structures, replace two undersized culverts to facilitate wildlife passage, and restore the Eel River stream channel and floodplain. DER and its partners will plant more than 17,000 Atlantic white cedar trees and 7,000 native shrubs and herbs, build a new footbridge over the former dam location, and improve trails to provide better public access for walking, trout fishing, and bird watching. In addition, education components such as permanent signage will be constructed.