The existing concrete pipes under the road to Dowse's Beach in Barnstable, Mass., were too small, leading to degraded water quality in Phinney's Bay. The restoration project called for installation of a 4x10-foot precast concrete box culvert under the beach road to restore tidal flow to the area. Photos: Horsley Witten Group
Part of what the WRP can offer is outreach to towns, helping educate the community on the advantages of these types of projects. “Typically there is community support for the project, because the benefits are tremendous,” he said. “The impact to the marsh and the aquatic habitat are really dramatic, and most towns are very supportive.”
Durey's group also works with public works departments to address logistical issues, including those raised by closed roadways and rerouted traffic. “That can sometimes raise complaints, so we work closely with the town to figure the best time to do their project,” he said.
One of the WRP's sister programs, the Massachusetts Riverways Program, has developed a model for successful outreach and education on inland projects. The River Continuity Partnership addresses culvert replacements in freshwater river environments and improved design for fish wildlife passage. That group developed a stream-crossing handbook and poster to educate DPWs about the importance of properly designed crossings. The materials are available on the organization's Web site at www.mass.gov/dfwele/river.
“We have done similar outreach work with local DPWs,” said Durey. “We're working on a DPW handbook that provides a good overview of the benefits that can be attained.”
For Durey and the WRP, the overall goal is to meld the goals of two distinct groups that may not be aware of one another, but share a common goal.
“Lots of legacy infrastructure exists that was built in the last 20 to 30 years without understanding about the environmental impact,” said Durey. “All this infrastructure has to get replaced. The opportunity I see is a real teaming up of infrastructure replacement and environmental restoration. You're achieving dual results—it's an amazing opportunity.”