NOAA Fisheries Service and the City of Gloucester will host a clean up of Mill Pond on Saturday, April 26, 2008, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in honor of Earth Day. Mill Pond is located inland from the Annisquam River Estuary and the Mill River in Gloucester, Mass. Mill Pond is also the site of a collaborative effort among public and private groups to restore 30-acres of salt marsh.
“We are pleased to partner with the City of Gloucester for this Earth Day event,” said Pat Kurkul, regional administrator, NOAA Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Office. “Cleaning up the site is the first step in a long-term effort to help restore a healthy, functioning wetland ecosystem.”
Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk is expected to join Kurkul and Deputy Regional Administrator Chris Mantazaris for the clean up.
"This project will result in a cleaner, healthier salt marsh that may even be able to support a commercial shellfishery someday,” said Mayor Kirk. “This is a great opportunity for Gloucester residents to get involved in this much broader effort to restore a valuable local resource.”
Volunteers are to gather at O’Maley School parking lot on Osman-Babson Road at 8:45 a.m. The City of Gloucester’s Health Department will be on hand to provide volunteers with gloves and trash bags, and to organize clean-up teams. The Department of Public Works and the City Recycling Coordinator will assist with garbage disposal and collection of recyclable items.
The Mill Pond restoration is a collaborative effort among NOAA’s Restoration Program, the City of Gloucester, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Program, Metcalf and Eddy, Clipper City Surveying and Engineering, the Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and the Anderson Foundation. Plans are to modify a concrete dam that now regulates water flow in Mill Pond. This is expected to improve tidal influence and increase salinity thus reducing algal growth and invasive species like phragmites so that native salt marsh plants can recolonize the area. The restored marsh system will also provide habitat for a variety of fish and bird species and serve as a natural buffer against flooding. This is a major concern to nearby residents who suffered an estimated $1 million in flood damage in 2006.
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