photo: Laurie Warner

Visit by Mexican Students Brings Attention to Diverse Waterways in Need

Molly Peñaloza, Ireri Servin, Valeria Aguilar, Alejandra Garcia / photo: Jane Wholey

Four university students from Patzcuaro, Michoacán, Mexico, recently visited Friends of Herring River (FHR) and the Herring River Restoration Project.

This group came as part of cultural exchange program sponsored by the Cape Cod National Seashore and began their visit with FHR for an orientation to the overall Herring River Restoration Project and to hear about building a grassroots campaign, fostering a community of stakeholders, addressing opposition, and providing project administration.

Back in Mexico they face severely degraded Lake Patzcuaro - a very different habitat than Wellfleet's Herring River. But many of the lessons learned from our own journey towards estuary restoration proved transferable and useful for these enthusiastic and committed young leaders.

Members of the FHR Board and Staff shared the history of the organization's role, project governance and milestones, and John Portnoy, Co-Chair of FHR's Science Advisory Group, led a detailed tour of project components. It was a wonderful morning of mutual inspiration and exchange.

Click on the links below to read articles about their visit in the Provincetown Independent and the Cape Cod Times.

Provincetown Independent

Cape Cod Times

The Herring Count!

FHR oriented and coordinated a hardy group of volunteers from late March until the end of May as part of the Cape-wide Herring Run Count. This year these 33 volunteers made 469 "counts" of herring sightings over more than 85 total hours of observation in Wellfleet's Herring River.

After noting weather, air temperature, water temperature, time and date, participants counted all the herring they saw in a 10-minute period. They often conducted observations several times per day. This information was carefully logged and ultimately submitted by FHR to the Association to Preserve Cape Cod.

APCC gathers similar information from counters all over Cape Cod and maintains valuable records for estimated herring populations from Falmouth to Wellfleet.

Great work, everyone!!

What Happened?

Recent visitors to Duck Harbor in Wellflleet have been surprised by some dramatic changes in this landscape, a part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

For many years there were upland trees and thick underbrush next to the parking lot. Since the winter of 2020-2021, however, that changed to a field of dead, gray vegetation due to repeated overwashes of salt water from Cape Cod Bay.

Due to funding availability and coincidental timing with the Herring River Restoration Project, the vegetation has been ground up, now revealing a large, flat plain covered with chipped wood, and green shoots emerging throughout.

Read about this National Seashore project to promote the recovery of native salt marsh vegetation here.

photo: John Portnoy

Herring River Restoration Project Update


JULY 2023

• MIG Construction has continued construction activities on the Chequessett Neck Road Bridge. Activities have focused on installation of components that will comprise the temporary bridge.

• MIG has installed the steel sheeting and tie rods that form parts of the temporary bridge abutments on both the northern and southern sides of the Herring River.

• MIG has backfilled and compacted the temporary bridge abutments with gravel material.

• MIG has conducted load testing on a steel pipe pile that will form the foundation for the permanent bridge. Steel pipe piles are cylindrical steel tubes that are driven to a specified depth to distribute loads to the underlying soil layers.

• Upcoming work will include the installation of steel pipe piles that will form the piers that carry the temporary bridge across the river.

• Note that fish passage and tidal flow is maintained during construction activities.

177-foot crane and temporary bridge abutments / photo: Wes Stinson

Load testing of steel pipe pile / photo: Wes Stinson


Friends of Herring River's 2023 Annual Meeting

Wednesday, September 27th, 5:00 pm

Chequessett Yacht and Country Club Boat House

680 Chequessett Neck Road, Wellfleet MA

Public is Welcome

Please welcome FHR's new Board members,

Laura Parkin & David Shapiro!

We are delighted to welcome Laura and David to our Board of Directors.

Laura works with nonprofits and philanthropists to design and raise funds for high-impact initiatives. She builds on a 30+ year career helping establish, grow, and invest in high-impact organizations as an entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and head of a private foundation. Her home in Wellfleet abuts the Herring River Restoration Project.

David is a school program coordinator for Mass Audubon Cape Cod. In this role, he works to develop and deliver environmental education programs to students across Cape Cod. David also worked as an interpretive park ranger with the Cape Cod National Seashore for six seasons.

You can read more about Laura and David here.

FHR establishes Science Advisory Group

Given the Friends' history and commitment to science-driven restoration efforts, this new Group will review and opine on the Friends' communications and activities which are rooted in science, as well as help convene and lead scientific events and talks related to the Herring River Estuary, on behalf of Friends of Herring River.

The Group is Co-Chaired by Barbara Brennessel and John Portnoy, acclaimed environmental scientists, authors of several books and articles about the Herring River and other ecological issues, and both former long-term FHR Board members. You can read more about Group here. 

P.O. Box 565 | 1580 Rte 6

South Wellfleet, MA 02663


Please Consider a Donation!

Support our mission - restoring and sustaining the environmental vitality of the Herring River estuary for its multiple benefits to people and nature.

Friends of Herring River is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. 

To donate, please click HERE