Report of the
Natural Resources Department  1979


After ten full seasons of "salty" service to the Town and boating public, Saquatucket Harbor has become one of the most popular marinas on the south side of Cape Cod, This fact is reflected not only by the many letters of commendation received by this department and the Board of Select­men, but also by the willingness of applicants to pay fifteen dollars for the privilege of being on our waiting list.


We are now geared to a well suited long range mainte­nance program which we feel will guarantee the longevfty of our float system at reasonable cost to the taxpayer. The inclusion of a fulltime dockhand in the form of Larry hand ler in 1978 was a recognizable asset in this ongoing project. With the inclusion of Donald Ryder to the working team, numerous projects could be initiated. These include: replac­ing flotation and rebuilding ten finger floats and two main walkways; stabilizing flotation on the outer east and west

docks; removing all the Allen Harbor floats; reworking the bubbler system; and much more.


In 1979 Hinkley's Pond saw the replacement of the dam and sluiceway at the headwaters of Herring River. This work was carried out by the Division of Marine Fisheries as funds were voted last year at Annual Town Meeting. At the same time, the Engineering Department tackled the problem of an overflow pipe installation in the old spillway at Johnson's Flume in West Harwich. Both were desperately needed re­pairs to our herring run. The dock and float at Herring River Town Landing being completely damaged during the winter of 1978 were completely rebuilt this spring.


The Town also made some valuable acquisitions. The Capt. Nathanial Wixon Dock at Herring River was made a partial gift to the Town by the historic fishing family. The Hillary LeClaire shellfish grant #4 behind Red River Beach was received by the Town in "Pop's" name to be operated by the department as a grow out and transplant grant.


Allen Harbor saw its first complete channel dredging in 19 years. The pure sand from the channel was pumped on­shore to replenish the beaches along Wyndemere Bluff to the pleasure of bathers and residents alike. The widened beaches should help protect the bluffs from further erosion.


Having been dismasted in '78 during its maiden voyage, Russell Morgan's famous Harwichport built schooner 'Stone- horse' was forced to beat a nasty retreat from its attempt to reach Bermuda in 1979. Extreme winds and heavy seas caused damage to both vessel and crew. Other noteworthy events in 1979 include: Cape Cod Tech received its Saqua­tucket berthed research vessel Tairtide' into its fisheries pro­gram; Saquatucket Harbor had its first documented blue- green algae bloom; Allen Harbor parking area was leased for the first time to Allen Harbor Marine Service for winter storage; the Town saw its new boat taxes levied to July 1st catching most of our recreational fleet in port; hurricane David widely missed Cape Cod as we scrambled to secure the harbors (9/7); the Harwich Cranberry Festival held its first Ocean Regatta with over thirty-six entrants; an oil waste collection tank was established at the marina yard for re­cycling crankcase oil from the fishing fleet; a tuna fisli bonanza added new interest to the fall and a short term prospect for local fish dealers.


With the replenishment of fish stocks and increasing local knowledge of fishing techniques, we are witnessing a renaissance in the fishing industry. There is a strong trend toward large craft being built for offshore lobstering, gill- netting, and sea scallopping. The typical fishing vessel here will soon average in the 50' class. In 1978 there were 16 off.- shore lobster vessels, 4 scallopers, 5 charter boats, 2 party boats and 8 jigging and longliners using Harwichport as a permanent base. Additionally, 30 scallop vessels, 2 charter boats, 1 lobster boat and 1 longliner utilized Harwlchport as a temporary base for at least a portion of the year (a total of 69 vessels). This new era should also be marked by the launching and completion of the scottish seiner 'Aaron & Sarah' by Cote and Shea Metal Fabricators, a subsidiary of Harwichport Boat Works this spring. The steel vessel is the first commercial vessel to be built in Harwich in over twenty years and the company already has commitments for more keels to be laid at their yard on Great Western Road.


In connection with ever increasing fish landings came the immediate need for good offloading facilities in Harwich. The Town voted by ballot the sum of $156,000 at the 1979 Annual Town Meeting for the replacement of the now con­demned Pogy's Dock and the dilapidated Town Pier at Wychmre Harbor. This figure was based on an Engineering study performed by Tibbetts Engineering Corp. of New Bedford. The study was paid for with CZM funds. Through the work of the selectmen and grantsman, Harwich will receive an out­right reimbursable grant of $100,000 and receive $56,000 at low (5%) interest from the Farmers Home Administration for the replacement of the existing structures; Having a

plurality, the selectmen have shown both direction and re­sponsibility in keeping the project on the straight and nar­row. A contract has recently been awarded and the new off­loading and charter pier should be in place by Jine 1, 1980.


The Coastal Zone Citizens Advisory Committee recently voted the planned commercial expansion at Saquatucket Har­bor #1 project for the county in the appropriation of plan­ning funds. This CZM committee also voted a unanimous resolution to abandon all oil-related activity off Georges Bank until scientifically adequate safeguards could be demon­strated. All local meetings concerning OCS (outer conti­nental shelf) development were attended.


We worked long and hard transporting 558 bushels of quahogs from Cape Cod Bay via Rock Harbor to our family areas throughout our harbors. This diligent effort on the part of Don Ryder, the harbor crew and myself required 31 round trips to Orleans, meeting the supply dragger at all hours of day and night. These trips between June 1 and August 20 became referred to fondly as the "quahog connec­tion." Reconnaisance scuba dives were also made on Herring River, Pleasant Bay and off South Harwich to attempt to document the extent and condition of our shellfish beds and bay scallop resources. Sof tshell clam frames were installed on the shoreline of Wychmere Harbor on an experimental basis.

Water quality sampling of our freshwater ponds and shellfishing area was conducted at the request of the Board of Health on 7 days between May and September. All ponds tested over 24 testing stations showed good results. The Recreation Commission was also kept posted of the results.


Recent aerial photographs have confirmed our fears that Wychmere outer harbor is filling rapidly with littorally and airborne drifted sand. Over the past year the outer harbor has proven to be more than an adequately safe area for the permanent mooring of fishing vessels and pleasure craft. Wychmere channel as all our channels will continue to be a dredging maintenance problem. This problem above all else may have the greatest impact upon local commerce and is why we should give particular support to our dredging re­serve fund.


Natural Resources Department Statistics — 1979


Tows and Rescues                                                                    45

Jump Starts                                                                                6

Boats Pumped Out                                                                   11

Boats Reported Loose                                                                3

Boats Missing                                                                             5

Boats Reported Stolen                                                                5

Boats Recovered                                                                      11

Fires on Board                                                                           1

Scallops Transplanted                                                               90        bushels

Motorboat Warnings                                                                12

Shellfish Violation Written Warnings                                          19

Motorboat Telephone Complaints                                             13

Shellfish Telephone Complaints                                                  5

Collision & Boating Accidents                                                     5

Channel Markers and Regulatory Buoys                                    35

Lighted Aids Maintained                                                             1

Quahogs Transplanted to Wychmere Harbor                           169 bushels

Quahogs Transplanted to Allen Harbor                                   304 bushels

Quahogs Transplanted to Round Cove                                      85 bushels


Dockage Report All Town Owned Slips1979 (Calendar Year)


Commercial Vessels                                                                             $15,070.67

Charter Boats                                                                                           4,451.42     

Sailboats                                                                                               17,088.75

Powerboats                                                                                            32,070.29

Commercial Vessels (transient)                                                                 3,402.49

Recreational Vessels (transient)                                                               10,358.15

Electricity (where recoreded separately)                                                         70.55     

Washer, Dryer & Ice Receipts                                                                  1,726.35

Telephone Commissions                                                                              145.53

Waiting List Appliactions                                                                          1,500.00     

Fuel Dock Commission                                                                                939.49     

                                                            Total Receipts                          $86,823.69     

                                                                      Refunds                                -250.00     

                                                                Grand Total                          $86,573.69


Family Shellfish Permits Sold                                                     726      $1,452.00

Non-Resident Shellfish Permits Sold                                           37           555.00

Senior Citizen Permits Issued                                                    208               0.00

Commercial Shellfish Permits Sold                                              64           640.00

Grand Totals                                                                         1,035      $2,647.00


Total Waterways Budget Appropriated FY 1980                                 $70,365.00



We attended many public meetings again this year. Our attendance at Barnstable County CZM citizens advisory com­mittee was an important key in receiving funding grants. Other meetings attended Included: Mass. Harbormasters Association; Mass. Shellfish Officers Association; Board of Appeals and many Conservation Commission hearings. A three day Boston seminar on the construction of small boat harbors was also attended in December.


Respectfully submitted,


THOMAS E. LEACH, Natural Resources Officer Harbormaster

DONALD F. RYDER, Assistant



Report of the Waterways Committee


To the Honorable Board of Selectmen

and to the Citizens of the Town of Harwich:


For boat owners, the bad news first. The committee feels to continue with a reasonable profit for the Town, slip rental must be increased by $2.00 per foot.


The dredging of Allen Harbor was completed in the spring of 1979. That's good news.

The Wychmere Harbor project should be complete by the end of May. This should help the Fishermen and also help the tranquility of Saquatucket.


Respectfully submitted,


LAWRENCE W. COFFIN, Chairman             WALTER KAPLAN, Clerk

HAROLD VanBUREN                                    MRS. ROBERT DOLAN

HOWLAND B. JONES, JR.                           RONALD HOLMES

ROBERT BUTLER                                          ALLYNE B. CONNER