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Pilgrim Monument, line drawing by Ewa Nogiec

Monday evening walk with Hana... Hatches Harbor: Restoring a Salt Marsh

 

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

My favorite walk! National Seashore fire road, between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport - favorite with birders, dog walkers, and those seeking to reach Race Point Lighthouse. Spectacular open sky views and gorgeous walk in every season!

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Hana... my domestic partner!

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Oh, dinner! Late September is the best time on Cape to go mushrooming...

Boletus edilis... Prized as an ingredient in various foods, B. edulis is an edible mushroom held in high regard in many cuisines, and is commonly prepared and eaten in soups, pasta, or risotto. The mushroom is low in fat and digestible carbohydrates, and high in protein, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Although it is sold commercially, it is very difficult to cultivate. Available fresh in autumn in Central, Southern and Northern Europe, it is most often dried, packaged and distributed worldwide. Keeping its flavour after drying, it is then reconstituted and used in cooking. B. edulis is one of the few fungi sold pickled. The fungus also produces a variety of organic compounds with a diverse spectrum of biological activity, including the steroid derivative ergosterol, a sugar binding protein, antiviral compounds, antioxidants, and phytochelatins, which give the organism resistance to toxic heavy metals. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boletus_edulis]

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Walking friends...

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Shades of greens...

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

The walk starts with forest on both sides... and then it opens!

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Looking back... Pilgrim Monument is there!

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Last Rose rugosa's flowers...

Fire road

Coast Guard station on Race Point Beach on the horizon...

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Provincetown Airport in distance...

Hatches Harbor: Restoring a Salt Marsh

The Cape Cod National Seashore is in the middle of an exciting environmental restoration project. The Seashore is partnering with the Town of Provincetown to restore 90 acres of a 200 acre salt marsh adjacent to the Provincetown Municipal Airport. The Hatches Harbor salt marsh is a remnant of a larger salt marsh complex that existed at the time of the first European settlement. This salt marsh was primarily a Spartina patens (salt hay grass) and S. alternifolia (smooth cord grass) community.

In 1930, the upper 200 acres were enclosed behind a dike in an effort to control salt water mosquitoes. The elimination of tidal flow dewatered part of the upper marsh, changing the mosaic of salt marsh and wetland communities. Subsequently, a small airport was constructed on the landward end of the marsh, an airport was today is a vital part of the town's economy.

Today, the seaward end of the upper marsh inside the dike has a restricted tidal range that severely limits the extent of Spartina habitat. As a result Spartina has been displaced by the invasion of Phragmites australis, the common reed into substantial parts of the old Spartina marsh. This Phragmites invasion has resulted in a degraded salt marsh community, with reduced nursery habitat, loss of shellfish habitat, and increased vulnerability to water quality deterioration. Salt marshes with unrestricted tidal flow have less troublesome mosquito populations because they provide habitat for fish that feed on larval mosquitoes.

Research conducted by National Park Service (NPS) and United States Geological Survey (USGS) scientists show that increasing the tidal range would greatly reduce Phragmites habitat, re-establishing Spartina habitat in its' place. This project has been designed to preserve the Provincetown Airport as it stands today as well as protect any future alternatives that may be proposed to enhance airport safety. The restored marsh would act as additional flood protection for the airport against big storms. The larger culverts to be installed during restoration would allow faster draining of standing water after heavy rainstorms.

The Seashore's plan is to replace the 2-foot wide culvert with four 7-foot by 3-foot culverts with adjustable tide gates. This will allow the culverts to slowly opened over a number of years and slowly replace Phragmites with Spartina habitat. A phased opening of the culverts will allow NPS scientists to monitor and control the restoration rate, preventing a sudden large die-off of vegetation. Such a quick die-off would create mud flats and open water that would attract large numbers of birds and thus pose a safety hazard to the airport. Five earthen berms will be constructed to protect the airport's instrument landing systems, as well as present and future airport operations. Completion of the restoration project would make it the largest salt marsh restoration project in Massachusetts.

The entire environmental permitting process has been a cooperative effort between the Seashore and the Town. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed to codify the organization and carrying out the restoration project. A NPS/Town Review committee that will review all aspects of the project will approve an operations plan. The goal of the permitting process is to broadly educate the public as well as all federal, state and local agencies, to the benefits of this project and again public support. The Seashore has met and will continue to meet with federal, state, local and Town agencies and committees to further describe construction and operation of the culverts, identify permitting requirements and address environmental and economic concerns.

NPS, USGS and University of Rhode Island scientists are completing a season of biological, chemical and physical field sampling at Hatches Harbor. This sampling included vegetation sampling, bird and fish surveying, bivalve censusing and measurement of tidal exchange processes. This research is designed to establish a baseline to monitor the rate. It also gives valuable information to the Seashore and the Town that can be used to help determine the progress of the restoration and reveal any problems during the project. -- Text courtesy http://www.nps.gov/gis/gisday/gallery/caco/hatches.html.

 

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown AirportFire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Do you see airplane in the sky?

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Salt water flows...

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Hatches Harbor...

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Race Point Lighthouse

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Race Point Lighthouse

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Strong current...

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Race Point Lighthouse

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Race Point Lighthouse

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Race Point Lighthouse

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Race Point Lighthouse

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Race Point Lighthouse

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Race Point Lighthouse

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

 

Fire road between Hatches Harbor and Provincetown Airport

Sunset...

I am Provincetown, vertical line for our website

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Best places in Provincetown...

 

 

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Fishing Boat line drawing by Ewa Nogiec

If I can say "I am Provincetown" so can YOU :)

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