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Muddy Creek Culvert - USFWS.
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Muddy Creek Wetland Restoration Project

Location: Massachusetts

Project type: Resilience

Project status: Complete

Funding awarded: $3,762,000


Project completed in May 2016. Monitoring of water quality and fish return is ongoing.

Project Summary

The Muddy Creek project site is a tidally-restricted estuary with fringing degraded tidal marshes. The project enhances coastal natural defenses against storm surge by restoring a mix of estuarine and subtidal wetlands, improving water quality and restoring passage for fish that migrate between fresh and saltwater. Restoration actions included the removal of twin undersized stone culverts and replacing them with a 94-foot span bridge and open channel.

Conservation Goals

  • Restore natural tidal flow to the Muddy Creek system by replacing outdated culverts that restrict flow
  • Enhance coastal protection by restoring a mix of approximately 55 acres of estuarine and subtidal wetlands
  • Improve water quality and restore passage for fish

Project Benefits

  • Provides increased opportunity for landward migration of estuarine wetlands in the face of expected long term increases in sea level
  • Restores wetland habitats beneficial to migratory birds and near-shore marine species and enhances access to spawning and nursery areas for diadromous fish, including alewife and American eel
  • Improves water quality and habitats for important commercial and recreational fish and shellfish

Project Partners

  • Town of Harwich
  • Town of Chatham
  • Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration (MADER)
  • Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS)
  • Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (MACZM)
  • Cape Cod Conservation District
  • Pleasant Bay Alliance

Additional Details

The project demonstrates the significant water quality improvement and associated economic cost reduction value that tidal restoration can generate in tidally-restricted estuaries with water quality impairments. Data and information from the project may be integrated into Landscape Conservation Cooperative efforts to provide partners with the best science available to inform management decisions and guide resiliency efforts at multiple scales.

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Muddy Creek Wetlands Project Map

Muddy Creek Restoration Photos

Last updated: April 11, 2018