Meadow Restoration Takes Root & Blooms

Thanks to widespread support from the Cape Cod community in 2017, HCT was able to purchase and preserve approx. 17 acres with about 1,400 feet of shoreline on Muddy Creek that flows into Pleasant Bay. See the map at right to view the 17-acre landscape (shown in red) in the context of Muddy Creek and Pleasant Bay.

Many ecologically valuable areas have been haphazardly developed over the past decades. The result is that across the Cape, land and water resources have been impacted including the health of Pleasant Bay, drinking water recharge areas that replenish our aquifer, and woodland and wetland wildlife habitat. The real estate market has rebounded since the 2008-2011 recession. Cape Cod communities are again faced with some of the most intense development pressure in the Northeast. If HCT supporters hadn’t responded so generously to the 17-acre land-saving campaign to raise $1.65 million, then the land could have been subdivided and developed into 12 houses. A subdivision in that area could have negatively influenced water quality and wildlife habitat as well as generate more traffic and increase the demand for expensive municipal services and infrastructure.

An abandoned house sat derelict for years. Photo by David Simmons

The 17-acre site is upstream of the new Route 28 Muddy Creek Bridge & Salt Marsh Restoration Project. The restoration project goal is to enable full tidal flow back and forth between Pleasant Bay and Muddy Creek by replacing two undersized culverts beneath Rt. 28 with a bridge. Why was this bridge project important to the 17-acre purchase? When the bridge was put in place by summer 2016, people began to kayak and canoe at the right tide from Jackknife Cove upstream into Muddy Creek to enjoy scenic views of the 17-acre landscape from the water.

An abandoned house that had been open to the weather for years occupied part of the

Local Robert B. Our Company removes the abandoned house. Photo by Zygote Digital Films

property. HCT contracted with the local Robert B. Our Company to remove the structure and abate the asbestos. HCT also worked with local Blue Flax Design to seed the disturbed area with native grasses and wildflowers. Over the past two years, the blighted landscape has evolved into a blooming meadow.

A trailhead kiosk was created by the volunteer Woodworkers Club of the Chatham-Harwich Newcomers. When the meadow fully establishes, HCT plans to open a walking trail, hopefully by spring 2020.