News Release

Vegetation Removal at Duck Harbor to Continue This Winter

Left, an open field of woody debris. Right, field is green and regrowing.

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News Release Date: December 18, 2023

Contact: Linzy French, 508-957-0710

WELLFLEET, Mass.– Cape Cod National Seashore, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, will continue to remove dead trees and shrubbery from the Duck Harbor area of the park. Clearing the dead vegetation has helped promote the growth of native saltmarsh vegetation as well as lower fire risk by reducing fuel loads.

Over 80 acres of dead woody vegetation, killed by saltwater overwash events that began in January of 2021, were cleared last winter and spring. Overwash events continue to be observed at Duck Harbor and roughly 40 acres of dead woody vegetation in the area remain to be cleared. Heavy-duty mulching equipment, like the equipment used last winter, will be used again to clear the remaining dead vegetation. The continued clearing will promote the natural recruitment of salt marsh plants and increase the ecological productivity of the area, while helping to minimize breeding habitat for mosquitoes by facilitating flow and drainage of water.

Park scientists will work with the Center for Coastal Studies to monitor changes in Duck Harbor and are optimistic about the revival of native salt marsh species, as saltwater tolerant plants have already been observed returning to the area. The project is managed by Ducks Unlimited with a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Last updated: December 18, 2023

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