Cold Brook Ecological Restoration Update

Photos by Gerry Beetham

We hope you are enjoying the windblown leaves swirling on local trails, clear star lit skies, and fresh fall air. Here’s an update on the Cold Brook Ecological Restoration Project in Harwich Port and an opportunity to support eco-restoration for our neighbor to the north further below.

Project partners have been meeting weekly since September to keep track of eco-restoration progress. The innovative effort took more than a dozen years to design with help from the Town of Harwich Select Board, Conservation Commission & Community Preservation Committee, the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and eco-restoration consultant Inter-Fluve. Two ponds have been created and a new stream channel is taking shape that will provide more natural flow for Cold Brook as it heads to Saquatucket Harbor on Nantucket Sound. The photo galleries below show the progress to date.

HCT’s newest partner, the nonprofit Harwich Fire Association (HFA), has made great progress on renovating the exterior of the Town’s first fire station thanks to voter approved Community Preservation Act (CPA) historic preservation funds. HFA also received a special permit from the Town Planning Board to create three affordable housing apartments on the second floor. HFA will be seeking additional CPA funds at the May Town Meeting. 

Meanwhile, we’re still working on raising the $500,000 needed to reconfigure parking for 28 spaces including 4 handicap spaces, establish a scenic overlook, and link to the Cold Brook paths with a half-mile wheelchair accessible trail loop.

As the Cold Brook Eco-Restoration Project continues to evolve, we’ll send more updates.


Special thanks to HCT volunteers Steve & Eileen Furlong (photo gallery above) and Gerry Beetham (photo gallery below) who are photographing eco-restoration progress.

There are many ecological restoration efforts unfolding across the Cape. The Barnstable Clean Water Coalition is undertaking an effort similar to Harwich by re-wilding wetland bordering a stream. 

To our north in Brewster, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has a vision of restoring native habitat on Wing Island that overlooks Cape Cod Bay at the mouth of the Stony Brook Valley. 

If you’re looking for a festive evening in support of their eco-restoration efforts, visit their website to learn more about the Museum’s Dec. 14th event featuring keynote speaker William Martin, author of Cape Cod. For tickets, please click here