Upper Childs River Restoration
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Problem Description: The Farley and Garner Bogs were farmed for cranberries for several decades. In early 2014, the cranberry farmer notified both Towns of Falmouth and Mashpee that he was abandoning his leases on these bogs as cranberry farming was no longer economical for him. These bogs have been abandoned for well over six years and have invasive plant species taking root. Many decades ago, sea run brook trout swam up the Childs River to spawn in Johns Pond in Mashpee. The dam south of Carriage Shop Road in Falmouth has restricted the flow of the river forming two ponds which warm the river. The upper Childs River is now too warm and shallow to encourage migration and spawning of these native fish and others.
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 has acquired control of these parcels to rehabilitate the Upper Childs River and restore the Farley and Garner cranberry bogs to wetlands. Plans are to:
1. Remove a dam which creates 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 native ecosystems 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 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 would continue to allow the public access to its significant acreage for hiking and enjoying nature. Schools and scouts could use the project to study the value of river and wetland restoration.
Cost: Final cost estimates for this project are $2.2 million. Grants from multiple public and private sources will help to fund this important conservation project. Your generous donations are greatly needed and appreciated.
Timeframe: Engineering and design was completed & approved January 2020. Permitting is complete. Construction began in August 2020. Project completion expected in 2021.