Report of the      

Natural Resources/

Harbormaster Department 1988


A smooth transition under the new Harwich Charter for this department did not seem possible and remains incomplete. Under the re-organization plan, maintenance, parking lot and grounds & building are to be done by the DPW department. This would help free up the seasonal harbor force to deal better with the management of the waterfront, shellfish planting and needed Herring run maintenance It is obvious that the DPW needs more manpower and time to accomphsh' the goals of the Charter.


Harbor planning remains a top issue with this depart Unprecedented growth of the Town in the Waterfront area is resulting in conflicts in the "water sheet" usage. Voters recognizi ensuing problems supported a Waterways Commissions article waterfront planning in hand. Meetings of the Selectmen early in th resulted in the redefining of Town policy relative to boat yard moorings. The Town will continue to issue moorings to both indiu and those customers of boat yards; however, all moorings must n issued via waiting lists of either Town or boatyards on a first con serve basis. We are far from a smooth and well organized system- allocation of moorings where owners go out and buy larger somehow expecting the Town to continue to make space, conflicts are obvious. The over issuance of moorings becomes another clear problem. Round Cove as an example was issued 100 mooring permits yet only about 60 moorings were placed in the Cove this year. The other 40 issued boaters never made it to the water. As a result, this cove was under-utilized in 1988.


Due to the temporary lack of a Town engineer, Down Cape Engineering was commissioned to survey the Round Cove channel for the maintenance dredging plan. A beach nourishment/disposal plan was later drawn by our new Town engineer Jane Estey and the application package was submitted at the end of the year. Full licensing of this project will be time consuming to say the least as dredging projects can mean up to as many as ten agency approvals may have to be sought. The Round Cove permitting problem is one which plagues nearly every project the Harbormaster gets involved in as all of our maintenance is within the areas covered by the Wetlands Protection Act. No other Department must jump the hurdles with which we are often faced dealing with permitting agencies on every water-project, bulkhead or piling installation.

Permits are in the works for extending the Allen Harbor boat ramp where the ramp end has become undermined. A repair of the 1st Landing ramp at Long Pond is also in the works. The Herring River Town dock requires complete replacement and is once again submitted as an article for the May Town meeting. Wychmere channel needs immediate, dredging at the mouth and new plans are being prepared. The tie-off pilings at the Wychmere pier must be replaced soon.


Allen Harbor channel was dredged this Spring removing 37,000 cubic yards of sand and placing it along the beaches of Wyndemere Bluffs. This beach nourishment offers excellent protection for the base of seawalls as well as ideal beach sand for bathers. Although this improved the channel significantly, the project remains incomplete at the seaward end. The Division of Waterways engineers claim the Hydrodredge Company left the project prematurely violating its contract with the State. The Selectmen demanded consideration for this failure if not here then by the Division of Waterways toward our Wychmere Harbor channel and Mooring Basin application.


Saquatucket Harbor Renovation was put back on schedule as a settlement over the decking dispute of the West dock resulted in replacing all of the decking with premium 5/4 CCA treated pine boards. A contract to replace all the east dock floats and utilities was awarded to east Coast Marine for $248,392. East Coast was also low bidder for replacing the floating docks at the Allen harbor bulkhead for $21,380.


A Saquatucket Task force consisting of Wayne Melville, Mike Pessolano, Jane Estey and Torn Leach has been formed to continue moving the work along. Plans for a new pile de-icing system have been submitted by Childs Engineering and remains to be bid. The Town Engineer is drawing the proposed bathroom-space addition in house and she has also worked with Richard Burton in developing plans for a Marine Septic Pumpout System which, if approved, will be the first tight- tank system of its kind and a model for the Commonwealth. Major budgetary cuts by the Governor have resulted in many Towns losing CFIP funds. We have some reassurance from CZM that the Saquatucket grant is still intact.


The Board of Health gave approval for a model microwave waste treatment system to be installed by a New Hampshire company at the Marina Control building. The Town will monitor the efficiency of the system which claims nearly tertiary treatment of effluent. If successful, this inexpensive system may have a variety of applications where installation of Title V septic systems are difficult or impossible.


More shellfish beds were closed this year as Division of Marine Fisheries has taken over area water testing from DEQE. The results are - not good as Herring River and Muddy Creek have been added to the list of previously closed shellfishing areas which include Saquatucket harbor, the north part of Allen Harbor and Red River. So called "non- point" source pollution is the most difficult to track as pointed out in last years report. Our Health Agent Paula Champagne has been working with oysterman Craig Whitcomb in trying to pin down pollution in the river. Rainfall and stormwater discharge are major contributing factors. We are considering recommending a rainfall shellfish closure system be set up similar to that of the Westport River. During extended periods of no rain the river becomes eligible for opening until the next rainstorm.


180 bushels of mixed quahogs were transplanted in our shellfish relay program to open areas in Wychmere and Allen Harbors. Shellfish permits issued include: Family, 404; Non-Resident, 8; Commercial, 12; Seniors, 138; One-Day Non-Resident, 22.


A By-Law prohibiting the use of jet-skis and "wetbikes" on Herring River passed Town Meeting carrying a fine of $200 for an offender. The Police Department will take over implementation of the swim safety buoy net planned for Long Pond. The Town of Brewster did get their buoys out this year. These regulatory buoys will be spaced 200' from - shore around the perimeter of the Pond. Police patrols on the pond are a part of the police budget and shared by Brewster and Harwich.


Harbor revenues this season were at an all time high. In considering current and upcoming expenses of budget and 19 capital projects proposed to the Capital Outlay committee, the Waterways Commission will be faced with some difficult rate setting decisions where it comes to harbors. Harbor income in FY88 was as follows: Saquatucket, $194,916;

Visitors, $70,020; Wychmere, $8,302; Allen, $6,705; Moorings, $7,815; Waiting Lists, $5,720; Ice/Commissions, $2,992; Offload Permits, $3,600; Ramp Fees, $3,837. Total Gross income: $303,907. Total Waterways & Natural Budget Expense: $121,835. Waterways Articles in 1988: $36,188 plus $100,000 added to Dredging Reserve.


This was the Fall for Tuna as Harwichport was visited by more than twenty sportfishman giving chase to the elusive sportfish. Hundreds of Tuna were landed over the bulkhead at Saquatucket. The fleet also boosted fuel sales keeping business in the black for our fuel vendor. These boats have been good customers for Harwich and spend a lot of money in Town for food, supplies and lodging. If the future of Tuna fishing from Harwichport increases we will be recommending Sportflshing Offloading Regulations and Permits to better manage this group.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the other departments and Harwich residents for their help and support of the harbors in 1988.1 particularly wish to thank Ronald Kendall who on more than one occasion spent time, effort and machinery to help repair parking area and roadway surfaces at the harbors at no cost to the Town.




Thomas E. Leach