On Monday, August 17, a group of over 20 boarded kayaks, canoes, and even paddleboards to make the voyage from Quanset Pond to Little Sipson Island, which is owned by the OCT. The trip was led by OCT President Bob Prescott.
Upon arrival at the Island, Bob educated the group on a bit of history of the island and surrounding area. OCT purchased the property after a fall storm in 1991 swept away a three season home that had existed on the island, becoming the Trust’s first land purchase. The island and surrounding mudflats and shallows have been changing ever since, with constant erosion and movement of sand. Since Nauset Beach was breached in the spring of 2007, areas of Pleasant Bay saw tides of 1.5 feet more extreme with each high and low tide, and water quality improved. As a result, the area off Little Sipson has some of the healthiest eelgrass beds in Massachusetts and serves as a window into the past.
Attendees observed many shellfish, including horseshoe crabs, whelks, mussels, and a variety of clams. Bob explained that the majority of these shellfish were historically overfished and many still are overfished. He stressed the importance of understanding the life cycles and natural history of these species for better management in the future. These shellfish have a variety of uses, from food to pharmaceutical uses, but we must also understand their importance to the ecosystem. Shorebirds that were observed on the mudflats off the island feed on these shellfish, giving them the energy to continue their southern migrations.
Thanks to all those who could make the trip, and we hope to see everyone at the Namequoit Bog Conservation Area on Thursday, September 10 at 10:00am for our next walk. Attendees will learn about our recent efforts to restore this historic Atlantic white cedar woodland, turned cranberry bog, into a freshwater wet-meadow vegetated community. This will be a spirited walk through sections of woodland and marsh grass that do not have existing trails. There will be steep slopes, loose stones, and perhaps some bush-whacking.