Upper Childs River Restoration

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Problem Description:  The Farley and Garner Bogs were farmed for cranberries over several decades.  In early 2014, the cranberry farmer notified both the Towns of Falmouth and Mashpee that he was abandoning his leases on these bogs as cranberry farming was no longer economically viable for him.  With their abandonment, invasive plant species took root.  Many decades earlier, sea run brook trout swam up the Childs River to spawn in Johns Pond in Mashpee.  The earthen dam south of Carriage Shop Road in Falmouth restricted the flow of the river forming two ponds which warmed the river.  The upper Childs River was too warm and shallow to encourage migration and spawning of these native fish.

Solution:  The Falmouth Rod & Gun Club (FRGC) owns 200 acres of land in Falmouth and Mashpee which virtually surrounds the 12.5 acre Farley Bog and the portion of the Childs River leading north to the 24.7 acre Garner Bogs parcel.  The FR&GC acquired control of these parcels to rehabilitate the Upper Childs River and restore the Farley and Garner cranberry bogs to wetlands.  Plans were implemented to:

  1. Remove the dam which created two shallow ponds on the Childs River.

  2. Restore the Childs River through the bogs by removing flow barriers, increasing and improving aquatic habitat, restoring hydrologic and geomorphic processes, and installing native trees and vegetation to improve the ecosystem and further shade the river.

  3. Restore the bogs to wetlands with native plantings and nesting areas for migratory waterfowl.

   4. Improve the overall water quality in the watershed.

Benefits:  Creating a “cold water fishery” in the Upper Childs River will foster the return and propagation of sea run brook trout to the river.  The restoration of cranberry bogs to wetlands creates habitat for migratory waterfowl, songbirds, and other wildlife.  The wetlands will also act as a natural filtration system for the watershed and estuaries in both towns.  The FRGC has placed Conservation Restrictions on the land surrounding the Childs River to ensure it will remain undeveloped.  The FRGC will permit public access to the site for hiking and enjoying nature.  Schools and scouts may use the project area to study the value of river and wetland restoration.

Timeframe:   Final planting at the site will take place in the Spring of 2022 and that will mark completion of the construction phase. 

Cost:  This $3.0M project will require some maintenance.  If you are interested, your generous donations would be greatly appreciated.