Little Mussachuck Creek Marsh Restoration

Alternative 1. No Build
A No Build alternative was evaluated as an option. The fundamental question that needed to be addressed was whether implementing restoration actions at Little Mussachuck Creek would result in negatively impacting existing habitat conditions? It was recognized that restoring tidal flow to the northern portion of the marsh had the potential to negatively impact existing wildlife habitat functions.

Wildlife habitat impacts to major guilds were evaluated based on field observations and best professional judgement. A No Build alternative would be selected if restoring tidal hydrology significantly impacted existing habitat functions.

Environmental Scientist Sue Adamowicz from the Department of Environmental Management's (DEM) Narragansett Bay Estuary Program worked with the Town of Barrington’s Conservation Commission and Save The Bay to develop a Marsh Restoration Prioritization Matrix for identifying high priority salt marsh projects. Little Mussachuck Creek marsh obtained one of the highest priority rankings based on assessment of wetland functions and values. In this analysis, Little Mussachuck Creek ranked high due in part to the percieved threat to rare plant species. Recognizing that the ecological trajectory of Little Mussachuck Creek would result in eliminating trust species, a No Build alternative was not viewed as a feasible option.

Strong local support to remedy a percieved problem, scientific consensus on implementation strategies, and resident concern of the fire hazard potential of Phragmites (1994 Phragmites fire at the site) were all reasons to ultimately reject the No Build alternative.

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