2002 Annual Report of the
Natural Resources Department
The harbor had a very successful year notwithstanding a drought, a down turned economy, and conservation law measures which impacted the fishing industry in many ways. Still boats were moving and work had to be done. The parking lots were full and summer visitors and residents made heavy use of all the facilities. September brought a late bite for the bluefin tuna fishermen and kept the port very busy until October 25th.
Town takes pride in the harbors and their importance. This is illustrated by a
stream of volunteers dedicated in a mission to sample the estuary, lend a hand
in Coast Sweep, clean the herring run, and help at the shellfish lab and
harbormaster, or the garden club who plant bulbs and flowers and hang wreaths,
and the Chamber of Commerce members who decorate the village and string lights
for holidays. The fact is, you could not drive through
the Port this summer without discerning Harwich's knot with the sea evidenced
by new light pole banners that proudly declare
Dredging & Beach Nourishment
Having all permits in place the Board of Selectmen
responded to a special request from this office to dredge the
Ramp Repairs & Parking Improvement
The face of the Saquatucket boat ramp was saw cut and repaired by private contractor in response to potholes which had developed and could not be kept undone. The Highway Department agreed to do the labor while the State Public Access Board approved to pay for materials. The ultimate plan to replace the ramp in its entirety with a redesigned structure has been delayed by Big Dig funding problems within the State.
The Town contracted Robert B. Our
A fairway channel through the lower
At the urging of the waterways commission, the selectmen voted to give people on the boat slip waiting list only three chances to accept a town-slip before being sent back to the bottom of the list. Dockage rates for Boaters increased 5% in 2002 and will increase again 10% in 2003. It could have been much worse, with one recommendation urging 20 percent in this and in subsequent years. The board of selectmen put in place new slip permit holder criteria to ensure the person whose name is attached to the permit is the primary owner of the boat. If not, see you later. Proof of at least 51 percent ownership of a documented vessel will now be required. Berth and mooring holders must be the sole owner in the case of State registered boats.
2003 Dockage Rates (abridged for the record)
Recreational Seasonal Leases 5/1-11/15/03 $6.64 /sq.ft
Commercial Groundfish Boats 1/1-12/30/03 $5.54 /sq.ft
Passenger Carrying Vessels 1/1-12/30/03 $6.36 /sq.ft
Mooring Permit Fees resident/non-resident
Class 1 35.0’-up $114.40 / $139.70
Class 2 25.0’-35’ $88.28 / $114.40
Class 3 0-25.0’ $50.82 / $76.23
Overnight Dockage in-Season: $1.67/ft/night
Boat Ramp: $8.10/day; $76.23/season pass; Common Carrier $165.17
This was the first full year that we accepted credit cards and there is no doubt that this system has made collection of dockage and user fees easier on the customer and collection faster. We again set a record for receipts and operating well in the “black”. Clerking needs at the harbor remain high as we struggle with a part-time clerk. Our request for a full-time position was withdrawn indifference to the fiscal policy of no new or added positions for FY04. The work load on the small paid staff at the harbor (who double as natural resources department) remains overwhelming and our dollars generated per employee figure is untouched by any other department of the Town.
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Whiteley Fuel Oil won the bid as the new fuel facility operator at Saquatucket Harbor Marina. Whiteley submitted a sealed bid to pay the town a fee of 23.25 cents per gallon of fuel pumped and replaces Kenneth Pina, the longtime operator of the fuel dock. To see Ken Pina lose the bid was a sad November day, but bidding laws prevail. Whiteley can provide the service at an annual increase of $8,500 as projected.
In excess of 2.3 million quahog seed were reared
throughout the summer in the Wychmere shellfish lab
and grew from (1-3 mm) to an average of (9 mm) in size. Our largest class seed grew as large as 26
mm. While a portion of our quahog seed
was purchased by the Town, the majority of the seed reared was contracted
through a DMF/County Seed Grant Program which purchases clams at 1mm from
several hatcheries including
Shellfish Health Report
All shellfish in relays must be tested disease free
and our shellfish received a clean bill of health from the Shellfish Pathology lab
in Woods Hole, Ma. The shellfish from the lab were then seeded in
The local Harwich shellfishing flats were again a busy place. To help patrol the flats, volunteer shellfish wardens, Jim Coyle, Mike Cienava, and Ron Saulnier were very generous with their time and energy. The assistance provided by our volunteer corps certainly makes the Natural Resources Department a more efficient, more productive group. We thank all our volunteers for their effort.
2002 Shellfish Permits Sold
Resident Family 340 $3400
Non-Resident Family 51 $1530
Commercial 9 $360
Seniors 75 $225
One-Day Non-Resident 19 $285
TOTAL 494 $5800
Hydraulic Dragging Regulations
The selectmen followed the Marine Water Quality
& Shellfish Committee recommendation to allow resident owned hydraulic
commercial draggers to fish for quahogs in Nantucket Sound. This practice is
allowed only in water in excess of 12’ MLW and permits the taking of stock
along the west side of
Herring Run Issues
Last year, selectmen had a jurisdiction skirmish
with the state Division of Marine Fisheries and the commonwealth’s
environmental police over a decision to set herring run regulations prohibiting
the harvesting of herring by non-residents. For the first time, Harwich issued
special herring permits (free of charge) to town residents and non-resident tax
payers who wished to take up to one 5 gallon pail of herring per family, once
per week, with a limit of six-5 gallon pails per season. 79 of these special permits were issued by
the Natural Resources Department at
The herring run continued to be the center of
attention for many people. Herring were
observed in the fish ladder from March 9th, through
Marine & Pond Water Quality
Ongoing scientific data collection continued in 2002
including our involvement with the Massachusetts Phytoplankton Monitoring
Program. This program was coordinated by
the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and involved collecting data
from 18 stations along the coast of
Local water quality monitoring continued in full
Additional thanks to our stormwater runoff volunteers who braved the cold and wet weather: Dan Keefe, Rat Rivard, Leslie Boule, Jim Brennan, and Ed McCarthy. Harwich also continued its’ water quality sampling as part of the Pleasant Bay Resource Management Alliance and would like to thank Al and Barbara Williams, Dave Bennett, George Cooper, Bill Clarey, Dan Hamilton, Anne and Abigail Hynes, Rich Houston, Martin Gardiner, Jean Raymond, Tina Maloney, and Walt McClean for their assistance. Oceanographic data collection from Nantucket Sound was also completed using the Harbormaster vessel Commander. This was the fifth year that such data as water temperature, water salinity, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity were recorded from the sampling locations for our ongoing database.
A fecal coliform evaluation study for the Allen’s Harbor Watershed was also begun this past year by the environmental engineers and scientists at Stearns & Wheeler, LLC. The primary goal of the study was to identify the most likely sources of fecal coliform in the watershed and then to make recommendations to mitigate the sources and reduce the health risks associated with shellfish closures and water recreation in the Harbor.
Stormtreat System Failure
The stormwater treatment
system put in place at
A simple word change in a legal ruling could mean
the difference between staying alive and going out of business for many
The uncertainty and insecurity of groundfishing continues to force our 40 fishermen to fill out their days at sea in alternative fisheries as lobstering, quahog dragging, charter fishing and highly migratory species. A record 105 vessels landed bluefin tuna over our bulkheads.
Congratulations to the High School Sailing team.The Rough Riders (13-7) led by then seniors Jamie Scarbrough (Duke) and Tommy Leach (USCGA) were third at the State High School Racing Championship at MIT; finished 2nd in the Cape & Islands League Championship and were 8th in the New England Team Racing Championship at Bowdoin College.
The Harwich Natural Resources Department continues to receive assistance with many of our projects. A great deal of thanks is extended to Bob Cooney, Deb Olstein and assistant Harbormaster John Reynders who volunteered many days tending to the shellfish lab. We would also like to thank the members of the Barnstable County Americorps who have helped on several occasions clear debris and obstructions from our herring run. Jim Coyle and Peter McDermott spent many long nights as wharfingers to help monitor and direct tuna landings. Also special thanks to our Police Officers, Fire Fighters and Highway Department team who were always there if need be to back the Harbormaster in any and every water emergency or harbor problem.
We are indebted for all the assistance we received from our many volunteers and boaters who lent a hand. We are pleased the general public is staying environmentally conscious and volunteering their help. We look forward to their continued support and a very productive 2003.
Thomas E. Leach, Natural Resources Director/Harbormaster
Heinz M. Proft, Assistant