Preserving Chatham's Salt Marshes
The Energy and Climate Action Committee (ECAC) advises Chatham's governing body, the Select Board, on issues of energy conservation and mitigation of projected consequences of climate change.
On November 1, 2022, ECAC submitted a proposal to the Community Preservation Committee for a grant to support preliminary research concerning potential salt marsh migration. The proposal requests $120,000 for the first year of ECAC's effort to acquire open-space property to facilitate salt-marsh migration in response to predicted sea-level rise.
As part of the Energy and Climate Action committee's effort to preserve the salt marshes of Chatham, we are developing an online map to explore the impact of climate change on the marshes and to suggest potential marsh migration areas in response to rising sea level and storm intensity. A pdf file with a link to the map and documentation of its data and usage is available here.
A primary use of such a map is to target parcels or partial parcels for Conservation Restrictions or land-trust acquisition. A preliminary desktop study of several of Chatham's major marshes has been conducted and is available here. This study suggests specific parcels to target for CRs. Field work and other studies are now needed to confirm the potential migration areas and the list of parcels.
The Chatham Conservation Foundation (CCF), preserves land for the benefit of the people, plants, animals, and ecosystems of Chatham. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to the purpose of acquiring land, by gift or purchase, to be preserved in its natural state in perpetuity. It was the first private land trust on Cape Cod when it received its charter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1962. Visit its website at https://chathamconservationfoundation.org. CCF owns the land including or surrounding much of the salt marsh in Chatham.
Salt marshes provide many environmental benefits. Chatham is lucky to have many salt marshes, despite a history of rapid development that has restricted tidal flow. Salt marshes can sequester carbon from the atmosphere at a higher rate than even forests. Salt marsh restoration is probably the best way for Chatham to reduce its carbon footprint, as well as mitigating storm surge, flooding and sea-level rise.
A Salt Marsh Task Force was formed in Fall 2019 to explore and pursue ways of studying, restoring and preserving Chatham's salt-marsh areas.
Many documents about the Salt Marsh Task Force can be downloaded below:
The first salt marsh target area for CCF is the complex around Frost Fish Creek in northeast Chatham.* Here is a 9 minute video about Frost Fish Creek, including its history, ecosystem and future outlook:
* Here is a virtual site visit of Frost Fish Creek, including maps and photographs: link* Here is the report on Frost Fish Creek conducted by APCC in 2018 under contract with CCF: link
* Here is an application to the Chatham Preservation Committee (CPC) for a grant to CCF to conduct hydrologic and water-quality studies of Frost Fish Creek: link
* Here is an application to the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) to designate CCF's Frost Fish Creek Restoration Project as a priority project for support by DER. link
* Here is an announcement of the award designating CCF's Frost Fish Creek Restoration Project as a priority project for support by DER. Of 12 awards in the state of Massachusetts, two went to the Frost Fish Creek project -- one to CCF and one to a collaborative application from MassDOT. link
* Here is a Bulletin of the CCF for Spring 2021 featuring the Frost Fish Creek salt marsh: link. Here is just the article on "Frost Fish Creek: A Salt Marsh of CHatham": link.
The second salt marsh target area for CCF is the complex around Cockle Cove Creek and Bucks Creek in West Chatham.
* Here is an article on "The Wonder of Chatham's Salt Marshes" from the Bulletin of the CCF for Fall 2021: link.
* Here is a 14 minute video about "Researching Cockle Cove Salt Marsh," including its history, ecosystem and future outlook:
* Here is a virtual site visit of Cockle Cove Creek, including maps and photographs: link
* Here is a memorandum of understanding between CCF and APCC to study this salt marsh complex: link
* Here is the scope of services for this study of the Cockle Cove Creek / Bucks Creek salt marsh complex: link
* Here is a commented draft report from the study of the Cockle Cove Creek / Bucks Creek salt marsh complex: link -- (Note that this report was a first draft from APCC. I added an Executive Summary and Project summary, as well as several edits and suggestions.)
* Here is a 6 minute video about how salt marshes sequester greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Capture of "blue carbon" (or CO2 in the marsh) can be monotized on the stock market. This is a report of research at Waquoit Bay Research Preserve and Herring River:
Click here (https://arcg.is/1CSCjb0) for the CCF GIS created by Matt and Julie in ArcGIS.
In celebration of 400 years of recorded history of Cape Cod and of the recent excavation of the founding homestead of Chatham, I created and donated four bronze sculptures to the Chatham Conservation Foundation (CCF) at its Annual Meeting in August 2020: The two sides of the most historically fascinating of four coins excavated and masks of William Nickerson, founder of Chatham, and Josiah Mayo, Postmaster and Town leader of Chatham in mid-1800s. (The CCF office is in the historic Mayo House.) I also donated copies of the coins and Nickerson mask to the Nickerson Family Association.
For a year after the ending of the archaeological dig at the Nickerson homestead site in Fall 2019, I worked with my brother, Alan, on analyzing the four coins that were excavated there:
• An oak-tree sixpence coin -- the only silver Massachusetts coin that has been reported found on Cape Cod. It is one of several overstruck six-pence over one-shilling oak-tree coins. However, none of the five others was found in situ. Coins minted in Boston, like this one, were the only silver coins produced in the American colonies.
• An English half-groat coin -- the only type of seventeenth-century English silver coin found in the American colonies—discovered at very few locations.
• An Irish copper half-penny coin -- one of only three of its kind found in the American colonies.
• An English bronze farthing. This coin was so corroded that I had to clean it up to find indications that allowed me to identify what kind of coin it was.
You can download our report on the coins, written for the public: link to report on coins,
or Alan's report published in a journal specializing in early American coinage: link to journal article and off-print.