East Street Bridge to Pipeline
Surveyors: Tim Watts
The River in this segment flows through Red Maple and White Oak swamps through the first two thirds of the segment. The final third is marsh with grass and shrubs. Along its course are many small bogs connected to the river. They appear to dry up during the summer although they had shallow water in them when we did the survey. Seems to be great wood duck habitat, lots of old broken and hollow red maples for nesting spots. Some old wood duck houses in spots. Several cranberry bogs along the river with pump houses that draw from the river and one small concrete dam. The dam doesn't have boards in it and may not be in use any longer.
Pipeline to Tremont Pond Dam
Surveyors: Fred & Anne Murray
The current flowing to Tremont Pond is enough to keep the level high enough so as not to drain important march areas. The dam keeper should keep the water level high enough so small fish can reach grassy areas. The water level was at least 3' lower than the spring level exposing a bare shoreline void of any vegetation for 5' to 6' in places. This lowered effect was apparent the full length of the stream. Large areas of marsh grass were left completely dry.
Tremont Pond Dam to Fearing Hill Road
Surveyors: Liz Murray, Matt K., & Casey O'Donnell
There were small, rocky areas that turned into rapids (small), but for the most part the flow was calm. The river flowed through mostly wooded areas while some areas were clear cut for cranberry bogs and houses. Large trees and vegetation mostly shaded this section. In some areas the path was impassable because of large rocks and fallen trees. We observed several drainage pipes but it is unclear if they are still in use. There were not many animals in the rather lengthy section with the exception of the flies due to the shade.
Fearing Hill Road to Horseshoe Pond Dam
Surveyors: Jim Munise
This area of the Weweantic River, running from Fearing Hill Road to the Horseshoe Pond outfall is a unique and valuable wetland area. The pond can be a maximum of 85 acres (shallow, sometimes only 0-6 feet) or a minimum of the actual river course (1-3 feet). This fluctuation provides for a wide habitat range, from a pond with a forest border, to a river with hundreds of feet bordering grassland with marsh and some trees. The habitat adjusts depending on the time of year and the condition of sluiceway at the dam.
The river bottom in this section was primarily sandy and bordered by grasses and marshes. While it was a flowing river at the time of the survey, the entire area can be ponded with very little evidence of the river at some times of the year. During the survey, a variety of shore birds, inland birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and fish were seen, including various dragonflies, turtles, hawks, deer and more.
This area has potential as a habitat conservation area. A ten-acre parcel at the outfall is privately owned, as is a large tract along the southern side. The town of Wareham owns the Birch Island Conservation Area and the Southeastern Wildlands Trust owns another area surrounding the ponded area. Upstream, on the other side of Fearing Hill Road, a 66-acre parcel was recently purchased with over 4200 feet of riverfront. This is a good start for a green corridor. Adding the land currently in private ownership to the town and land trust sections could pull together over 350 acres of conservation land, including marshland along the tidal portion of the river east of 195.
The lack of surrounding development has limited the problems in the Horseshoe Pond section. Even so, there seems to be sediment buildup near the Fearing Hill Road bridge, potentially from road run off, or problems upstream. The degraded sluiceway is a problem, blocking fish migration and tidal flushing.
Horseshoe Pond Dam to Route 6 Bridge
Surveyors: Rick Billard, Ed Schweitzer & Art Chamian
The area surveyed is basically a tidal basin, ranging in width at upper reaches near Rt. 195 of approximately 50 yards to several hundred yards near Rt. 6. The upper reaches had a clean bottom of black mud. But from 13th Ave., downstream to the Rt. 6 bridge, the bottom was oily black mud. The water level was normal for the time of year, and was slightly moving. There weren't problems of clogging vegetation or trash. Both sides of the river were mostly wetlands and marsh with some shrubs and grasses. Newer homes in this section are setback farther (200ft) than the older homes, which are at various distances separated by the saltmarsh. Overall the section is used for a variety of activities including, canoeing, fishing and swimming, especially since the boat yard is in this section. The area has good habitat although there was no noticeable aquatic life, but many types of birds, including herons, mallards, kingfishers, osprey and geese.
Sippican River and Cohackett Brook
Surveyors: Jack Dixon & George Funnell
These tributaries are tidal to the old railroad bridge, with areas of salt marsh. The river appears to be healthy with many pools and a gravelly stream bottom in sections. Wooded areas overhang the stream with shrubs and trees. There were no obvious problems, although there is potential for pollution from the large number of geese along the river. Additionally the marsh areas have a lot of purple loosestrife.
Estuary: Rt. 6/Wareham to Buzzards Bay
Surveyors: Ed Pacewicz
This segment is approximately 1.6 miles long and is a mixture of salt and freshwater having a high and low tide. The first 0.4 miles is very wide, (about 500yards) and has on one side a private sandy beach with a high concentration of residential homes with concrete retaining walls. All homes in this area have private septic systems. The other bank is mostly ditched, high, marshland. The river is very shallow (1-2 feet) at low tide with a channel (4-5') zig zaging through the center area. Except for the sandy beach, the bottom of the river is very muddy and the water flow is very slow. Significant storm drain runoff has been identified in this area along Rt. 6. Approximately 30 boats are moored in this area.
The remaining segment of the river is less populated. For the most part, both banks are ditched, high, marshland. Residential homes are located beyond the marshland. This segment has numerous, large, boulders with a very muddy bottom. The water flow is slightly faster than the previous section, but still slow.
Fisherman can be located along the banks of both segments of the river and stripped bass is fish of choice. Water clarity is less than two feet in most areas. Fiddler crabs and bright green sea lettuce are evident throughout the area. Shellfish beds in this entire segment are open on a limited basis (November-February). At this time, all shellfish beds were closed. There is obvious damage to eelgrass and bul rushes at Briarwood Beach Point due to vehicular traffic. In addition, the launching of watercraft at Briarwood Beach Point has deteriorated the riverbank.