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Eel River Headwaters Preserve Restoration Project

River and wetland restoration activities are underway in the headwaters of the Eel River, a small spring-fed system Eel River WRP 04-2005that eventually drains to Plymouth Harbor. The project area includes approximately 40 acres of retired cranberry bogs, as well as the Sawmill Pond Dam, a small stone dam and impoundment located downstream of the bogs, which are currently owned by the Town of Plymouth.

The purpose of the project is to increase the natural capacity of the resource area, improve fish passage, promote a healthy coldwater fishery, improve water quality, establish rare wetland communities, and provide the public with recreational and educational opportunities. The future use of the entire project area is as preserved land called the Eel River Headwaters Preserve, managed by the Town of Plymouth for public use and benefit.

Former agricultural activities resulted in the removal of all trees, modification of the stream channel, and placement of upland berms and water control structures to alter hydrology in the seven cranberry bog cells. The downstream dam is an impassable barrier to fish migration, and the impoundment causes water quality problems and disrupts natural riverine processes.

Restoration activities in the bogs will include dredging to construct a sinuous stream channel to reestablish natural conditions, filling of former artificial side channels, reconstruction of a re-connected floodplain, removal of dikes and water control structures, replacement of undersized culverts at Long Pond Road and a driveway to enhance fish passage, extensive wetland plantings (including 17,000+ Atlantic white cedar trees), and re-establishment of rare wetland communities. Sawmill Pond Dam will be re-configured to allow fish passage, and a restored river channel and floodplain will be reconstructed in the existing impoundment. A majority of site restoration activities are expected to be completed within two years, with follow-up monitoring and planting to occur for several additional years as needed.

The following documents require Acrobat Reader

Environmental Assessment
Environmental Assessment appendices
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)