The Falmouth Select Board on Monday approved an application to the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Resources to make the upper Coonamessett River restoration project a priority, the same designation placed on phase one of the river restoration project.
“Most of you probably know, the Coonamessett River restoration project, which was the lower Coonamessett River, the construction is complete,” said Elizabeth H. Gladfelter, lead coordinator for the project. “The restoration isn’t complete, it will go on the rest of our lives, but the construction is complete. What was critical for that project was we were designated a priority river by the Division of Ecological Resources.”
In addition to qualifying the project for grant funding, the designation allows the division to hire consultants to provide technical advice.
“We’re asking for priority status for the upper Coonamessett River, which is the next mile further north, but the particular project we’ve proposed is actually two miles up the river,” Ms. Gladfelter said. “For those of you who hike the area, it is where Broad River is.”
The area is not a river channel but a wetland, and in wet years, would connect the river to Coonamessett Pond. During the 1800s, Ms. Gladfelter said, ditches were dug down to the groundwater level, connecting the wettest spots of that wetland. The project aims to restore that connectivity by removing culverts installed over the years.
She said there is no financial obligation to the town for this river restoration project.