Construction for the Childs River Restoration project is underway on land owned and leased by the Falmouth Rod & Gun Club in Falmouth and Mashpee.
Construction in the river and upstream bogs is being done by Luciano’s Excavation Inc. Oversight for the project is being provided by the club and and Inter-Fluve, which completed design and engineering for the project.
The project will return the abandoned Farley and Garner cranberry bogs to natural wetland habitat and will restore the river to improve the productivity of this ecosystem for fish and other wildlife, the release said. A new culvert at the Carriage Shop Road crossing and replacement of a failed fish ladder with a functioning stream channel will allow brook trout, along with American eel and other fish species, to migrate upstream to currently inaccessible habitat. At the same time, removal of an old earthen dam below Carriage Shop Road, along with improvements to water flow in the bogs, will reduce ponding and sources of warm water currently impairing existing coldwater habitat for the trout.
“Development in the form of cranberry bogs, mill dam construction and other factors caused the extirpation of the wild brook trout population in the Childs River. Between 2008 and 2010, wild brook trout from the Quashnet River were transplanted to the Childs River, which resulted in a successful reproducing wild trout population in the lower Childs River,” said Steve Hurley, MassWildlife’s southeast district fisheries manager. “However, due to the barrier created by the dam and failed fish ladder, trout have not been making it further upstream. Restoration of the stream channel and upstream cranberry bogs will improve aquatic habitat for trout and other kinds of fish and wildlife with the added benefit of enhancing ecosystem resilience.”
The area is part of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Mashpee National Wildlife Refuge, and the river and its resources have been maintained by the club in coordination with the refuge, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and MassWildlife. The restoration project is a long-term effort begun by the Rod & Gun Club in October 2016. With four years and about $2.5 million committed for planning, design, permitting and construction, the club and the project team are now seeing their hard work come to fruition, club president Ronald Densmore. “This project supports the club’s mission of improvement, conservation and preservation of the land and water systems of Cape Cod. Restoring the bogs and river will ensure the public can enjoy the natural, historical beauty of these resources in perpetuity.”