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Carolina Hill Reservation

A Framework for Conservation Land Management

Marshfield Conservation Commission

Carolina Hill Reservation A Framework for Conservation Land Management

Marshfield Conservation Commission Karen Dunn | Susannah Spock | John C. Lepore

The Conway School Spring 2011

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School | Spring 2011


Contents Acknowledgements We are grateful for the contributions of the many professionals, organizations, and citizens of Marshfield who provided their time and expertise. Without their effort, completion of the project would not have been possible. Marshfield Conservation Commission Susan Caron, Walter Greaney. Amy E. Kwesell, Jim O’Connell, Ann Marie Sacchetti, Mark Stevenson, Jean C. Stewart All citizens and individuals who were interviewed or who participated in the public process. Jeff Bilodeau, Jack Storer, John & Kathryn Webers for GPS coordinates, Betty Magoun Bates, Lee Cannon, Sonja Christensen, Paul Halkiotis, Warren Harrington, Cynthia Hagar Krusell, Sue Mac Callum, Rod Prococcino, Thomas J. Rawinski, Chief Kevin Robinson, Lieutenant Paul Taber, Samantha Wood We are especially indebted to Marshfield Conservation Agent Jay Wennemer for his on-call availability, insight, and tour of Carolina Hill Reservation. We are grateful to John O’Keefe, Bill Lattrell and Glenn Motzkin who provided invaluable ecological insights. Special appreciation goes to The Conway School formal presentation critics who shared their feedback and expertise: Jonathon Ellison, Jonathan Fogelson, Dr. Julie Richburg Finally, many thanks to the Conway School students, faculty and adjuncts for their critical analysis and guidance. Carolina Hill Reservation offers Marshfield community members many miles of hiking trails in a variety of unique plants such as this Jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum).

Not for construction. This drawing is a student project and not based on a legal survey.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Executive Summary 1 Introduction 2 Project Goals 3 Public Process 3 Context 4 History 4 Regional Open Space 4 Existing Conditions 5 Analysis Overview 6 Water Resources 6 Soils & Geology 7 Topography & Drainage 7 Vegetation 8 Legal and Zoning 9 Access & Circulation 10 Wildlife 11 Wildlife - Deer 12 Summary Analysis 13 Management Alternative: Rally for Recreation & Education 14 Management Alternative: Managing for Ecological Health 15 Management Alternative: Synthesis 16 Essential First Steps 17 Essential First Steps 18 Elements: Recognizing Problem Trails 19 Management Toolbox: Trail Erosion Solutions 20 Management Toolbox: Wet Areas, Drainage & Accessibility 21 Management Toolbox: Signs 22 Appendix 23 Resources 24 Bibliography 25

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission


Executive Summary The Conway School was engaged by the Marshfield Conservation Commission to develop a land management plan for Carolina Hill Reservation. Since 1970, more than 2,500 acres of open space has been acquired by the Marshfield Conservation Commission to protect the town’s drinking water supply. Water quality and quantity are a top priority facing the town and the region as a whole. The South Shore continues to experience high growth rates, which strain water resources and affect the overall condition of sole-source aquifers. In total, eighteen wells provide virtually all the water for town citizens and businesses. Surface water supply is threatened by contamination from urban stormwater runoff, soil erosion, agriculture, and residential septic systems. Limited budgets reduce municipal services, which may negatively impact the environment. The town is grappling with these and other complex issues due to increasing suburbanization and related conflicts between nature and human activity. At 775 acres, Carolina Hill Reservation (CHR) is one of the region’s largest tracts of permanently preserved conservation land and it plays a major role in water resource protection, including aquifer recharge. Home to significant flora and fauna habitat designated by Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program (NHESP), the Reservation serves as an important wildlife corridor connecting a wide range of critical habitats. Carolina Hill, rising to 265 feet, is the highest point in Marshfield. Stakeholders, in two highly interactive community meetings, identified top concerns. Issues included aquifer protection and water quality, illegal access of motorized vehicles causing severe erosion, lack of enforcement of the regulations for conservation lands, poor signage throughout the Reservation, a need for increased maintenance and stewardship, and providing a “destination” such as restoring the view from the highest point in Marshfield. Planning for long-term viability of the Reservation begins with a strategic analysis of threats and the adequacy of current protection. The Marshfield Conservation Commission tasked the Conway School student team to develop management guidelines that will identify ways to protect and improve water quality, explore

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

methods to maintain and enhance the ecosystem, assess wildlife management needs, research the oak dieback problem and public safety implications, determine appropriate recreational uses, explore stewardship strategies, investigate methods to manage illegal uses, and evaluate access and circulation including signs and parking needs. Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management is the result of regional and site analysis, community input, and research. It formulates three alternative management strategies and identifies essential first steps needed to address concerns including water quality, recreation, wildlife, and law enforcement. “Rally for Recreation and Education” augments existing passive recreational opportunities and promotes environmental awareness. Unique land features, proximity to other open spaces, and presence of rare species and critical habitat shaped “Managing for Ecological Health,” an alternative that aims to restore and enhance fragile ecosystems on the site. “Synthesis” combines elements of the other two alternatives while balancing the project goals, foremost of which is to protect water quality, restoration of CHR’s natural systems and a realistic understanding of community expectations. All three management alternatives assemble a variety of early success strategies and longer-term options for land management when coupled with the “Essential First Steps” recommendations. Finally, detailed design elements and additional information about organizations, agencies, and individuals that should be involved in implementing the alternatives are included in the Elements and Toolkit section of this plan.

Over 40 acres of freshwater upland wetlands with numerous rare and endangered species are found at Carolina Hill.

Illegal camp fires can be found at many locations at Carolina Hill Reservation.

Oak dieback, which is common on the site, results from repeated insect infestation resulting in stress and loss of disease resistance.

Carolina Hill’s 775 acres experience illegal use and overuse, causing erosion and threatening water quality.

Though community recreation needs and expectations sometimes conflict with the Conservation Commission’s environmental objectives, town officials and residents are committed to working together to find lasting solutions. Conservation lands play an important role ecologically in improving the quality of life in the community by providing access to recreation areas that are close to home. The Conservation Commission can use this template to guide future land management decisions.

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Introduction Carolina Hill and Surroundings

Like many communities, the town of Marshfield grapples with complex issues of increasing suburbanization and related potential conflicts between nature and human activity. Limited budgets have reduced oversight of municipal resources and services in Marshfield and this may be impacting the environment. The town is being proactive in undertaking the challenge of addressing some of these concerns.

Ensuring water quality and quantity is a top priority facing the region as a whole. The South Shore continues to experience high growth rates, which strain water resources and affect the overall condition of the aquifers. Seasonal water restrictions are common in Marshfield and many surrounding towns from June to October. Surface water supply is threatened by contamination from urban stormwater runoff, soil erosion, agriculture, and residential septic systems. Marshfield’s municipal drinking water supply is dependent on eighteen groundwater wells submerged in sand and gravel aquifers that rely on locally protected open space to maintain quantity and purity of recharge. Because of highly permeable soils, the aquifer is particularly vulnerable to pollutants. The heavily forested CHR land allows precipitation to percolate and filter into the soil and recharge groundwater.

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For four decades, the Marshfield Conservation Commission, with the help of conservation-minded citizens and town officials, have preserved more than 55 nature reserves totaling 2,500 acres. Carolina Hill Reservation, at 775 acres, is one of the largest regional undeveloped tracts. Its 89 separate parcels have been amassed since 1970 to help safeguard the Furnace Brook Aquifer and associated community wells.

Inholding (2 parcels)

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Carolina Hill Reservation was purchased in the 1970s to preserve water quality and wildlife habitat since it overlays the town’s water source, the Furnace Brook Aquifer.

The Reservation also offers opportunities for passive recreation and serves as a major greenway connector maintaining and enhancing regional ecosystems and supporting the continued existence of rare species and critical habitats.

Eames Way Elementary School is neighbor to Carolina Hill Reservation on the north boundary, near the freshwater upland wetland.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Legend

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Project Goals

Public Process

According to Census 2010, suburban development is increasing in Marshfield, compromising vital water supplies and the ecological health of Carolina Hill Reservation, and straining town resources. Dying oak trees litter the forest floor replenishing soils but threatening numerous homes skirting the borders with the potential for fire. Unauthorized off-road motor vehicles tear up vulnerable soils that wash away during recharging rains. Human overuse impacts fragile wildlife and taxes sensitive natural systems.

In two highly interactive public meetings facilitated by the Conway School team, participants evaluated and provided feedback about users, favorite destinations, assets, issues and obstacles, environmental concerns, and facilities and improvements. Top concerns identified by the public include aquifer protection and water quality, illegal access of motorized vehicles causing severe erosion, lack of enforcement of the regulations for conservation lands including hunting, poor signage throughout the Reservation, inadequate maintenance and stewardship, and providing a “destination” by restoring the view from the highest point in Marshfield.

The long-term viability of the Reservation begins with a strategic analysis of threats and the adequacy of current protection. To that end, the Marshfield Conservation Commission has engaged a student team from the Conway School to address these issues and develop management guidelines that:

Among other notable responses, the community expressed a need for an environmental assessment of CHR to inventory sensitive areas and wildlife including NHESP core habitats and endangered species.

1. Identify ways to protect and improve water quality 2. Find methods to maintain and enhance ecosystems

Community stakeholders’ input and site analysis formed the basis of this plan’s recommendations.

3. Assess wildlife management needs

Relationships cultivated with organizations and area non-profit land trusts can further refine these concepts and initiate positive actions toward achieving project goals. The neighborhood residents are not only primary users of the land; many would also like to be longterm stewards of the Reservation.

4. Research oak dieback problem and public safety implications 5. Determine appropriate recreational uses 6. Explore stewardship strategies 7. Investigate methods to manage illegal uses 8. Evaluate access and circulation including signs and parking needs

The primary role of CHR is to assure clean drinking water for 25,000 year-round residents as well as seasonal visitors.

Many of the oaks face death from repeated insect attack and are dying from fungal infection.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

At both community meetings, participants provided valuable input used in developing this document.

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Over 20 local citizens actively provided valuable input at two public meeting during Spring 2011.

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Context

History

Regional Open Space

Carolina Hill Reservation, the largest of 55 town-owned parcels dedicated to conservation, is centrally located within Marshfield. This South Shore community encompasses 31 square miles, of which more than 29%—nearly 10 square miles— is considered “open space” (including conservation, recreational, forested, park, and agricultural lands). Today, Marshfield is largely a suburban town, with many of the 25,000 year-round residents commuting to Boston for employment, 30 miles northwest. Attracted by the many beaches along the four-mile stretch of coastline, the population doubles during the summer months.

Extensive evidence of Native American habitation extending back to 10,000 B.C. has been found in the region. Wampanoag peoples symbiotically cultivated and revered natural resources using prescribed fire to enrich the woodlands they depended upon for fuel, forage and shelter. Roads were well established in the town by the time of English settlement in the 17th century. These Native American pathways became the framework for most of the town’s main roads today.

As development along the South Shore continues, open space preservation is paramount for maintaining vital natural resources. Regionally, CHR is one of the largest tracts of permanently protected conservation land and plays a major role in water resource protection, including aquifer recharge, flora and fauna habitat protection as designated by NHESP, and likely serves as a wildlife corridor connecting a wide range of important natural areas throughout Plymouth County. These habitats include open shrub land, coniferous forests, deciduous and mixed woodlands, and stream and fresh water wetland networks that help sustain viable populations of rare and endangered species.

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Regional land use patterns show fragmentation of wildlife corridors. Increasing suburbanization separates protected open spaces, preventing the migration of certain species. Increased habitat isolation affects connectivity of key ecosystems and in turn, regional biodiversity.

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Proximity to the sea and great stands of forest shaped the shipbuilding industry that profoundly affected the town. From 1645 to 1871 over 1,000 ships were built in Marshfield and before long, supporting industries developed to serve the yards: saw mills, cotton mills, grist mills, tanneries and ship chandleries. Along the South River and its tributary Furnace Brook, iron furnaces, factory boarding houses, and company stores expanded the town’s commercial district. Much of this area adjacent to CHR remains commercially developed today and impacts the aquifer.

Marshfield recognizes its diverse, ecologically productive, rare and unique landscapes and for decades has been a leader in land preservation through both public and non-profit means. Notable conservation partners include the Massachusetts Audubon Society (with its southeast regional office located on Route 3A in Marshfield), the New England Forestry Foundation, the Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts, and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

With the arrival of the railroad, the shipping boom came to an end. At the turn of the 20th century, weekend visitors from Boston came to Marshfield by train, escaping the hot summer and crowded conditions of the city. Atop Carolina Hill, one of the highest points on the South Shore at 265 feet, Taft Camp, a rustic resort, offered Bostonians cool breezes and expansive views of New Inlet and Massachusetts Bay. Through time, the farms and pastures dwindled and trees once again cover the hills.

Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has been instrumental in coordinating collaborative land preservation efforts of non-profit and public agencies including Massachusetts land trusts, conservation commissions, watershed associations, state and federal natural resource agencies, and regional planning agencies. These efforts include identifying the highest priority open space areas needed to protect a connected network of the most important water resources, biodiversity habitats, working farms and forests, urban parks, and outdoor recreation areas.

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Marshfield is one of 19 municipalities included in the statedesignated South Coastal Watershed’s 240-square-mile drainage area. Three major watercourses of the watershed snake through the town limits: the North River marks Marshfield’s northern boundary, the South River branches at the mouth of the North River from New Inlet heading south through town, and the Green Harbor River runs to the southeast border of town. Drainage from CHR empties into the Furnace Brook and Little’s Creek subwatersheds.

As colonists branched out beyond the first settlement of Plymouth, land that is now Carolina Hill Reservation was sliced into pie-shaped plots extending up the hillsides. Like in most of Massachusetts, abundant oak and pines were cleared to make room for tillage and cattle, changing the landscape forever and significantly affecting the ecology of the soils and vegetation.

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Marshfield

Courtesy of Cynthia Hagar Krusell

Carolina Hill Reservation Taft Camp offered city dwellers from Boston magnificent coastal views and a respite from summer heat.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Daniel Webster Preserve, another major protected open space managed by Massachusetts Audubon, resides to the south of Carolina Hill Reservation near an important tidal wetland.

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Existing Conditions Surrounded by single-family developments, CHR lies east of Route 3A. Furnace Brook winds parallel to CHR’s western border and west of the state-maintained highway. Four groundwater wells sit southwest of the Reservation and draw from the Furnace Brook Aquifer.

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disrupt wildlife. Illegal fires and after-hours partying near the high point create public safety hazards and contribute to the further abuse of the conservation land. The property perimeter is not posted, and illegal hunting occurs within the site. Police cite their lack of off-road vehicles as an impediment to adequately patrol Carolina Hill Reservation, allowing illegal activities to continue.

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1:16,000 One of many neighborhood entrances allowing easy access to CHR.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

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Several of the CHR trails are severely eroded because they have steep slopes and erodible soils. Recurrent unauthorized off-road motor vehicles accelerate erosion and also impact habitat and

Eames Way School

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Eames Way Elementary School abuts the northern boundary of the Reservation. There are several informal parking spaces at the end of the pavement along Eames Way. A gated entry to unpaved Eames Way gives the Marshfield Department of Public Works access to the recently constructed water tower site within the CHR boundary. Additionally, several inholdings claim access from Eames Way. Another seven gated entrances and eight neighborhood access points skirting the perimeter allow entry via foot, mountain bikes, and horses to trails that meander over a wide range of terrain. Most of the trails are unmarked and lack clear destinations. They are for running, walking, horseback riding, mountain biking, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing. The Bridle Trail, a multi-use trail converted from an old railroad bed, runs contiguously along the eastern boundary of Carolina Hill Reservation for 2,500 feet. Popular with horseback riders and cyclists, the trail extends north to south for more than four miles.

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Fingers of rare freshwater upland wetlands—formed by groundwater perched atop impervious soil layers—traverse the northern half of the property. These natural resources recharge aquifers, filter stormwater, and provide unique habitat and important breeding ground for a variety of wildlife species.

Existing Conditions

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Steadily climbing west to east and bisecting the property, a 100-foot-wide utility easement cuts a swath through the predominantly mixed coniferous and deciduous forest. Eames Way, a historic roadway, divides the property perpendicular to the power line, in a north-south direction. Looking east along the cleared utility right-of-way, a hiker can glimpse New Inlet, two miles away where the North and South Rivers converge at the ocean. Carolina Hill rises 265 feet above sea level and is one of the highest points on the South Shore. From the main arteries of the Reservation, numerous diverging foot paths lead into the woods where abundant white oak trees show signs of damage from successive seasons of insect infestation. Tree limbs snapped from the canopy litter the ground, allowing light to penetrate the understory. Young pine saplings carpet the woodland floor.

Regional Wetlands & Waterways

The summit of CHR has become a place for campfires and partying.

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Data Source: Mass GIS, Name: C_H_SumAnlys_8.5x11_Portrait_20110616

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Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Analysis Overview

Water Resources

Overview

South Coastal Watersheds

Site analysis is a method of assessing physical, ecological, and social systems of a site. Physical elements include natural features of the earth’s surface and their formation, including topography, geology, soils, climate, rivers and water features. Ecological systems involve the relationships between living organisms and their interactions with the natural or developed environment. Social context may encompass human settlement patterns, history and heritage, location, land uses, transportation, recreation, culture, and art. Through a rigorous review process, opportunities and constraints of the site are identified, leading to an understanding of linkages between natural and man-made conditions. This knowledge helps in the development of ideal concepts, schematic alternatives, and preliminary designs.

The South Coastal Watersheds consist of 14 coastal river watersheds with a total drainage area of approximately 240 square miles that span over all or part of 19 municipalities. Most of Carolina Hill Reservation sits within the northern edge of one of these watersheds, the South River Watershed, that drains nearly 23 square miles. The river travels for more than 6 miles and collects drainage from the towns of Duxbury, Marshfield, and Scituate’s beach community of Humarock. Furnace Brook, a tributary of South River, lies west of CHR. The three-mile-long stream flows south, paralleling Route 3A and is dotted with five ponds. Eames Way divides the watershed ridge line. Surface water west of the path drains to Furnace Brook. To the east of CHR, Littles Creek flows through Keene’s Pond and carries drainage from the eastern slope of Carolina Hill into the lower South River.

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In the mid-1980s, Furnace Brook Aquifer became polluted and cost the town over $4 million, plus state aid, to mitigate the contamination. Because it is the largest of the town’s aquifers, the contamination and resultant temporary shut-down of the Furnace Brook wells triggered water bans and safety concerns, including potential for wildfire. Although the wells are back on-line, costly filtration and monitoring of the aquifer continues today.

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Maintaining water quality and quantity is a major issue facing Marshfield. In total, eighteen wells drawing from aquifers provide virtually all the water for town citizens and businesses. Aquifers are underground waterbearing layers of permeable material (usually sand or gravel) that yield water. CHR sits above and helps protects the Furnace Brook Aquifer, the largest in Marshfield, and a “sole-source” aquifer. Residents within the service area of a solesource aquifer have no alternative drinking water source that can physically, legally, and economically supply all those who depend on its watershed for drinking water.

Water Resources

Contaminated water moving through permeable materials directly above the aquifer poses the greatest risk to water quality. As land is lost to development and more impervious surfaces are created, rainwater no longer can be absorbed into the ground and is channeled into stormwater systems that deposit the water outside of the aquifer’s recharge area or directly into receiving streams. Ground and surface water supplies are susceptible to contamination from stormwater run-off laden with road-side and urban pollutants. Subsurface wells are threatened from drawdown due to over pumping, and polluted residue from agriculture, urban and residential uses. The preservation and management of Carolina Hill Reservation helps safeguard the long-term health of the town’s water system.

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Aquifers

Water Resources

Wetlands offer unique habitat and important breeding ground for a variety of wildlife species, provide aquifer recharge, and filter contaminants in surface waters. Fingers of rare freshwater upland wetlands formed by groundwater perched on the surface due to impervious soil layers cover 50 acres throughout the Reservation. The Marshfield Conservation Commission Wetlands Protection Regulations protect these valuable resources. Any activity proposed within a 100-foot buffer zone of a wetland requires a Notice of Intent and approval of the Conservation Commission.

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Aquifer Recharge An aquifer recharge zone is the area in which surface water or precipitation percolates through relatively porous, unconsolidated, or fractured materials, such as sand or gravel, that lie over an aquifer formation. The permeability of the soils influences the amount and quality of water that recharges the watertable.

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Data Source: Mass GIS Carolina_Hill_Marshfield_RegionalSummaryAnaly_8.5x11_Portrait_20110616

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Medium Yield Aquifer

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Soils & Geology

Topography & Drainage

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For people with reduced mobility, the site’s steepness can make access difficult or impossible. Universal access trails would need to be located on the flatter areas near the base of the hill, or would require a broader area to lessen the grade.

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Because of the potential for forest fires at Carolina Hill, it is worth noting that fire sometimes moves more quickly uphill than across flat ground. Additionally, fighting fire on slopes can be more challenging, particularly for an urban crew that may not be equipped for wildland fire fighting.

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Soils at CHR are generally sandy and acidic with thin topsoil. A little less than half of the land area has soils that are well to moderately well-drained, while the remaining soils are excessively well drained. Plant growth in these areas will be restricted to species that can tolerate droughty conditions. According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Most of the soils at CHR are considered to be moderately erodible for trails and roads and are found on slopes fall in the 3-15% range. Soils that are only slightly erodible are found on relatively flat 0-3% slopes. Those soils on slopes of 15-35% are severely erodible.

Restoring these areas, to the extent possible, may prove challenging and labor-intensive. Rocky, sandy, and well-drained soils lacking in the topsoil are difficult growing conditions for many plants to tolerate. Supplemental water may be required, particularly in the early stages. Hardy, drought-tolerant native species will be most suited to local growing conditions and therefore likely to succeed.

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Soils concentrated around the wetlands are mostly poorly or very poorly drained. These soils are more likely to be subject to runoff or pooling than other soils in the area. Plant species compositionis determined by soil moisture levels. Disturbance to wet soils can damage soil structure which can take decades to recover and affects plants, soil organisms, and other dependent species.

Because the soils on site are only moderately erodible for roads and trails, the extent of the damage and serious erosion occurring at CHR is likely the result of factors that include poor location, heavy use by illegal motor vehicles and horses. Protecting the soils from further damage is imperative not only for ecological reasons but because the long-term costs for restoration are significant. Additionally, the eroded areas are denuded of plants, which could otherwise help filter and retain water, contributing to the recharge of the aquifer.

The slopes, much of which are greater than a 12% grade, serve as both a barrier and a conduit. Rainwater west of Eames Way is channeled to Furnace Brook, to the north the slopes direct water into wetlands, and to the east drainage flows toward the South River. Animal waste and sediment from soil erosion are carried down with the rainwater.

Eames Way School

The soils at Carolina Hill show evidence of this layering; sand and gravel are sandwiched between silts and clays. The lower levels are saturated with water, forming the Furnace Brook Aquifer that under-lays portions of Carolina Hill.

Topography & Drainage

Carolina Hill is one of a series of drumlins called the Marshfield Hills, streamlined mounds formed by the glacier that once blanketed New England. Views of the South Shore, now obscured by trees, used to draw visitors.

Soils

Passing over substrates of sediment and granite, a massive glacier once inched along what is now the coast of southeastern Massachusetts. As the glacier advanced, debris of rocks, sand, and gravel was continually pushed forward. When the glacier melted, rivulets formed, depositing outwash from all the material that had been incorporated into the ice as it travelled. This material settled on previous layers of material.

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Lakes & Rivers

of vegetation. The resulting siltation can cloud surface water, creating conditions unfavorable to wildlife. Highly eroded rocky trails are also hazardous for horses. Constructing trails on poorly drained soils is ill-advised because they are more likely to develop puddles and muddy areas. Recreational trail users will tend to avoid stepping in these wet areas and it is common for a trail to grow continually wider as the edges become trampled and muddy.

When planning for trails and recreational use, highly erodible soils should be avoided because they are easily damaged and denuded

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

7


Vegetation Major Vegetation

Overview Vegetation at CHR grows in a wide range of conditions from excessively well-drained soils to poorly drained wetlands. The three forest types found on the property are coniferous, deciduous, and, covering the largest area, mixed coniferous-deciduous. Two open areas, Eames Way and the power line easement, are characterized by edge growth and low shrubs. On the northern half of the site where the poorly drained soils are found, a number of rare freshwater upland wetlands flourish. These diverse wetlands may support rare and endangered plants and animals. The power line easement that bisects CHR has been managed by the utility company with heavy cutting of vegetation and minimal use of herbicides.

Invasive Plants Several species of invasive species appear in heavily eroded disturbed areas. These include Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii), honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) and Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum). Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) can be found in the early stages of colonization along the west wetland loop trail near Eames Way Elementary School. Invasive plants have the potential to degrade the biodiversity by out-competing and displacing native vegetation, which impacts wildlife. The successful removal of exotic vegetation demands routine and ongoing efforts for effective management. Each species reacts differently in response to the timing and method of removal.

Eames Way School

a Furn e Eam

ook

ay s W

In areas with excessively drained soils, white oak (Quescus alba) and Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) dominate with huckleberry and low bush blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) as the predominant groundcovers. Pin and black oaks (Quescus palustris and Quescus velutina), pitch pine (Pinus rigida) and red maples (Acer rubrum) can be found scattered throughout the site. Along the power line and the edges of Eames Way, hardhack (Spirea latifolia), sweetfern (Comptonia peregrine), greenbrier (Smilax spp.), sheep laurel (Kalmia augustifolia), white birch (Betula alba) and low bush blueberry (Vaccinium species) are common. Less drained areas near wetlands have mature high bush blueberries (Vaccinium species) and red maples (Acer rubrum).

ine er L

Trail Bridle

ce B r

Pow

*

High Pt.

High / Middle Schools

± 0

0.125

0.25

Rt 3A

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1:16,000 Data Source: Mass GIS, Name: C_H_SumAnlys_8.5x11_Portrait_20110616

Invasive Species at CHR

Legend

Carolina Hill

Coniferous

Streets

Deciduous

Wetlands

Coniferous-Deciduous

Lakes & Rivers

Buildings

Oak Dieback According to one public meeting participant, a major fire swept through CHR’s southern half in the 1940s. Research into historical records could not verify this claim, but it does bring up questions about the prospect of forest fires in the present day. Timber harvesting during the 1970s and 1980s removed about 80,000 board feet of pine from the site’s southwestern quadrant. As a result of canopy removal, regeneration of Eastern white pine has been underway in this area with many seedlings covering the floor under white oak. Many of the white oaks show signs of disease and poor health. According to forest ecologists, oak dieback is the result of repeated attacks from five insects, especially gypsy moth and winter moth, attacking leaves and buds repeatedly, weakening the tree until it becomes infected with a fungus. Debris from the dying oaks falls to the forest floor and slowly decomposes. The combination of this material with highly volatile white pine seedlings sets the stage for forest fires, according to forest ecologist Glenn Motzkin. Much of the forest grows on slopes greater than 12%, making fire control difficult and dangerous. Access points to steep slopes are limited. To compound the situation further, decades of suburban development now flanks the borders of the site with little or no firebreak.

Honeysuckle

Garlic mustard

Asian bittersweet

A mix of white oak and Eastern white pine compose the majority of Carolina Hill forests.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

Pitch pine (Pinus rigida) can be found near the CHR summit.

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Young white pine (Pinus strobus) lies under white oak (Quescus alba) The potential for forest fire grows as oak dieback contributes additional fuel to the forest floor.

Japanese knotweed

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

8


Legal and Zoning Inholdings Several inholdings totaling 25 acres, concentrated within the northeastern quadrant of CHR, may pose a substantial challenge to long-term management and protection of the Reservation. While all of CHR is conservation land and can only be developed for passive recreational purposes, the inholdings may have development potential as permitted in the town’s zoning bylaws. Improvements to the private parcels are complicated by access rights and other legal restrictions. The potential for future development of the properties is unknown at this time.

rare freshwater upland wetlands laced throughout the site. Water Resource Protection District (WRPD)

Private inholdings, depending on how they are used, may have the following adverse impacts on conservation lands:

The purpose of this overlay district, which covers most of CHR, is to prevent contamination of and preserve the quantity and quality of ground and surface water which provides existing or potential water supply for the Town’s residents, institutions, and businesses. Additional safeguards apply to all permitted new construction, reconstruction, or expansion of existing buildings and new or expanded uses within the WRPD (see Marshfield Zoning Bylaws Article 13, Section 13.03 for specific uses and regulations).

• Fragmentation of ecosystems and environmental damage such as water pollution, soil erosion, and disruption of wildlife.

The WRPD is superimposed over any other district and includes all lands in Marshfield which are:

• Incompatible private land uses may require motor vehicle intrusions and construction of roads and utilities to serve the development. • Conflicts between the landowners and area residents, and public outcry associated with proposed development. • Complex land ownership patterns make managing public lands more expensive and time consuming for town officials, particularly when there is controversy.

Town of Marshfield Zoning Bylaws All development in the town is subject to the Town of Marshfield zoning bylaws. The underlying zoning of CHR and the inholdings is the Residential Rural (R-1) zoning district. This district allows singlefamily low-density residential development with a minimum oneacre lot size and a variety of residential, agricultural, recreational, and community services by right. Other uses may be approved by special permit issued by the Marshfield Planning Board or Board of Appeals.

• Within a 400-foot radius of the wellhead of any public water supply well, or • Within that area of an aquifer which would contribute water to a public water supply • Supply wells if such wells were pumped continuously for a period of 180 days at its maximum safe yield without any natural recharge to the aquifer occurring, or • Within that area of an aquifer which is upgradient from the wellhead of a public water supply well and between the wellhead and the nearest groundwater divide. While CHR is protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement, development rights of private inholdings complicate management of the Reservation. Superimposed zoning districts protect rare freshwater upland wetlands and the Furnace Brook watershed.

Superimposed Districts Superimposed Districts enforce additional regulations on underlying districts established by the Marshfield Zoning Bylaws. Much of CHR is protected by two such districts, the Inland Wetlands District and Water Resource Protection District. Inland Wetlands District The intent of this district is to preserve and protect streams, other watercourses, and their adjoining lands and to preserve and maintain the groundwater table for water supply purposes. Included in the district are lands in Marshfield which have been identified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). These are characterized by poorly drained and very poorly drained mineral soils and very poorly drained soils formed by inorganic deposits and having a water table at or near the surface seven to nine months of the year. CHR has nearly 50 acres of designated

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

CHR provides major area recharge for the Furnace Brook Aquifer through its like named watershed.

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

9


Access & Circulation Carolina Hill Reservation provides a wide range of recreational opportunities for Marshfield residents. Some come to walk and run, others come to ride mountain bikes and horses and walk dogs. Input from two public meetings indicated that citizens share concerns about the illegal use of off-road vehicles, after-hours partying, campfires, and poor signage throughout the property. A lack of routine patrolling and trail management make some visitors feel that the area is unsafe. Trails can be accessed from numerous neighborhood entrances and private properties bordering the site.

School, provides space for about six vehicles, and several horse trailers and cars can park off Ferry Street at the intersection with the Bridle Trail. Signs at entrances have been placed out of reach to discourage vandalism at several gateways.

According to members of the New England Mountain Bike Association who routinely record GPS coordinates as they cycle, CHR has about 14 miles of unmanaged trails. Some of these multiuse trails include erosion-prone slopes over 15% in open and wooded areas that have developed over many years and traversing a variety of conditions.

Trail management should be in the forefront of initial efforts to improve water quality. Duplicate trails need to be eliminated, clear trail signs need to be added, some areas need to be blocked and re-vegetated and other areas need maintenance. There are several Elements and Tool Box sheets in this document (19 to 23) that help plan these important steps.

Carolina Hill Access and Circulation

Existing parking facilities and trails do not comply with universal access standards because the improvements were made prior to the 1990 adoption of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

Numerous duplicate and dead-end trails fragment wildlife habitat, making migration, escape from predators, and the search for food and water more challenging and stressful. A lack of signs and trail markers makes navigating the site difficult. Three informal parking areas serve the Reservation. The entrance off Route 3A to the west can accommodate three cars. Eames Way, near the Elementary

Legend Trail markers directing visitors are randomly placed and lack clarity.

The entrance from Route 3A has room for 3 or 4 cars to park and enables access from the west side of CHR.

Entrance Parking Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Wildlife Marshfield is home to a variety of wildlife, including threatened, endangered, and species of special concern. Species of special concern are those considered to be at high risk of becoming threatened. The Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP), has designated over half of CHR as Estimated Habitat of Rare Wildlife and Priority Habitat. CHR is also designated as Core Habitat and a Critical Natural Landscape in BioMap 2, a document created by NHESP in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy to prioritize the protection of ecologically important areas. According to NHESP there are potential vernal pools at Carolina Hill in addition to the wooded upland wetlands. Large forested tracts like Carolina Hill Reservation have become relatively rare in southeastern Massachusetts and the site is probably an important link for wildlife travelling between fragments of habitat in the area. Furnace Brook is also likely serving as a wildlife corridor, though Route 3A is a dangerous obstacle that bisects this connection. Passageways that enable wildlife to cross roads have been used effectively in some locations with certain species and may be appropriate at Carolina Hill Reservation.

which means that they are vulnerable to crushing by illegal vehicles and probably horses. A systematic ecological inventory could verify the presence and land-use patterns of specific species, including likely migration corridors. From this information, decisions about where to locate trails, parking and other facilities can be made to minimize impacts on wildlife, particularly endangered species. Sensitive areas might be selectively closed or postings could inform visitors of nesting seasons or periods of migration. It can be useful to maintain records of roadkill to help track wildlife movement patterns and connectivity between other patches of habitat. Controlled burning might also be a useful management technique to improve wildlife habitat at CHR. According to ecologist Glenn Motzkin, prescribed fire can create diverse habitat conditions favorable to wildlife and can benefit many at-risk species, but an uncontrolled burn could also reduce biodiversity.

Carolina Hill Reservation Habitat Appropriate for NHESP Rare & Endangered Species Taxonomic Group

Scientific Name

Common Name

MESA Status

Most Recent Observation

CHR Habitat

Bird

Accipiter striatus

Sharp-shinned hawk

SC

1982

Fish

Notropis bifrenatus

Bridle shiner

SC

1959

Reptile

Terrapene carolina

Eastern box turtle

SC

2009

Vascular Plant

Linum medium var. texanum

Rigid flax

T

1898

Vascular Plant

Panicum philadelphicum

Philadelphia panic-grass

SC

1944

E-Endangered T-Threatened SC-Special Concern

Source: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/nhesp/species_info/town_lists/town_m.htm , 5/10/11

Some wildlife are sensitive to the habitat fragmentation caused by trails. Most animals can detect the difference between trails of human and other animal species and some species are more affected by the presence of people. The numerous duplicate trails at Carolina Hill Reservation could be isolating wildlife populations and disrupting reproduction and migration. Trails should be designed to allow sensitive wildlife to travel freely without having to cross areas used by people. The Eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina) a species of special concern found at CHR, is especially sensitive to vehicle use because it hibernates under only a couple of inches of soil. This reptile favors the sandy pine forest typical at CHR, as well as along power lines,

Bridle shinner

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

Eastern box turtle

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Philadelphia panic-grass

Rigid flax

Sharp-shinned hawk

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Wildlife - Deer The Population Question

Deer and Lyme Disease

Deer and Biodiversity

The deer population at Carolina Hill Reservation has been the subject of ongoing debate in Marshfield. Some have suggested that an overpopulation of deer is increasing the risk of Lyme disease and that hunting should be used to cull the herd. Others disagree, citing a lack of evidence to justify estimates of the ecological carrying capacity and the correlation to Lyme disease rates.

The blacklegged tick (Ioxide scapularis) is responsible for Massachusetts having one of the highest rates of Lyme disease in the country.

A density greater than 20 deer per square mile can devastate the biodiversity of an area (Christensen). Native plants are preferred to invasive species by browsing deer and are therefore impacted disproportionately by deer overpopulation. Plants containing certain toxic and/or distasteful chemical compounds will also be avoided by deer. Consequently, certain plant species are able to reach maturity while others are not. Over time, the forest plant composition can be greatly altered affecting other wildlife that depend on the vegetation for survival (Rawinski). This may be of particular concern at CHR due to the presence of rare, threatened, and endangered species. At CHR, deer can be expected to favor the white oak sapling (already stressed by disease) to pine seedlings and therefore the white oak will be less likely to regenerate. The many species that feed upon the acorns could also be impacted.

Deer thrive in the edge habitat typical of the suburban landscape. This factor combined with the extermination of large predators such as the timber wolf and the loss of the habitat upon which those animals depended, and lowered rates of deer hunting, have caused the deer population of southeastern New England to steadily rise (Audubon Society). The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife manage deer regionally. According to the state deer and moose biologist Sonja Christensen, in Zone 11 where Marshfield is located, densities are estimated to be between 23-25 deer per square mile of forested area based on kills reported by hunters (Christensen). The management goal of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game is to reach a “cultural carrying capacity” of 8-10 deer per square mile. This number is determined based on the level at which negative interactions are likely to be reported. These incidents include deer-automobile collisions and landowner complaints about deer browsing property vegetation. While the rate of deerautomobile collision in Marshfield has not been determined, the police department may be able to begin tracking those numbers.

Contrary to the fears expressed by some community members, the Lyme disease rates in Marshfield have not changed significantly over the last five years according to figures collected from Town Board of Health (see Appendix, sheet 25). The role of white-tailed deer in the increase in Lyme disease is controversial and scientists do not agree about the nature of this relationship (Christensen, Ostfeld). The majority of scientists believe that deer population size and Lyme disease incidence are correlated, which contrasts with the research of Ostberg and others that indicates other factors may be more significant. According to the state deer biologist, Primary when deer populations Reservoir Incidental Nymph fall below 10 per Hosts (Spring) square mile, rates of Lyme disease rates are reduced. The relationship between blacklegged ticks and their mammalian hosts is complex.

Nymph (Spring)

Blacklegged ticks have Incidental Adult a two-year lifecycle Hosts composed of larval, nymph, and adult Black-legged tick lifecycle stages, during which they obtain blood meals from different hosts. While white tailed deer are undisputedly a primary host for adult stage ticks, other species such as white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and chipmunks (Tamius striatus) are primary hosts during the larval phase when the bacterium is transmitted to ticks (Science Daily). Some scientists believe that these animals may play a greater role in the Lyme disease epidemic than deer and that adult blacklegged ticks will seek other large or medium sized hosts such as skunks in the absence of deer (Ostfeld). There is research being conducted on the viability of deer feeding stations with insecticide applicators attached. Preliminary results indicate that tick numbers have been significantly reduced with this approach but because the other implications of this treatment are not understood, it is not currently approved for use in Massachusetts.

Browsed leaf of wild sarsaparilla by white tailed deer. (Photo by Thomas J. Rawinski, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, June 8, 2011 at CHR.)

The most economically viable way to reduce the deer population is through hunting, which is not now permitted at CHR, though it is reputed to occur illegally. Other methods such as the use of birth control are extremely expensive and may be associated with other problems. Several communities in Massachusetts have instituted hunting to control deer populations, including nearby Duxbury. The implementation of hunting in a heavily populated suburban neighborhood, where people do not expect to encounter hunting, is potentially dangerous. There may also be concerns about hunting occurring close to people’s homes. Though hunting has been allowed in many suburban Massachusetts communities, accidents have been almost unheard of (Christensen). Hunting is not legal within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling unless authorized by the owner or occupant. The use of professional sharpshooters is not currently legal in Massachusetts according to Christensen. Another concern expressed by some citizens is that if hunting were instituted, wildlife would lose a “safe haven.”

Pink lady’s slipper browsed by white tailed deer. (Photo by Thomas J. Rawinski, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, June 8, 2011 at CHR.)

Deer frequently find food in suburban landscapes.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

An ecological assessment and written report by ecologist Thomas J. Rawinski determined that these impacts are not yet evident on a broad scale at CHR but because deer populations in Marshfield are continuing to rise, his report recommends action should be taken to manage deer, preventing the browsing damage seen in many regional towns. Additionally, the creation of a fenced deer ex-closure (at least 8-10 feet high) would permit documentation of the impacts of deer browsing, providing site specific data to serve as the basis for management decisions. Fencing to exclude deer is expensive and would only be practical for study plots, not on a bigger scale. Should the deer population be determined to be ecologically unsustainable or a local consensus is reached about social tolerance levels, then population reduction may be advised.

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Spring 2011

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Summary Analysis • CHR was purchased by the Conservation Commission to protect the water quality and recharge area of the Furnace Brook Aquifer that supplies drinking water to the town of Marshfield. Management will have to keep this in the forefront. • Carolina Hill is 265 feet high and has slopes 12% or greater in many places. Steep slopes can result in erosion, which can degrade water quality. • The site is dominated by coniferous-deciduous vegetation. Many of the white oaks are dying from insect infestations and disease.

Eames Way School

• Over half of CHR is designated NHESP Priority Habitat and Estimated Habitat for Rare and Endangered Species. It is legally protected and requires permitting trail construction and maintenance. • Surface water runoff over the steep, eroded slopes at CHR may be causing siltation, threatening water quality and aquatic habitat. • There are several rare freshwater upland wetlands that have poorly drained soils. Unmanaged human activities could seriously affect these sensitive habitats.

*

il

High Pt.

3A

rn a Fu

High / Middle Schools

±

The combination of oak dieback and the pine understory near homes along the thick woods at CHR’s border pose a potential public safety concern to local residents.

0

0.125

0.25

Miles 0.5

Data Source: Mass GIS & Resident GPS Name: C_H_SumAnlys_8.5x11_Portrait_20110616

The Conway School

Spring 2011

et

Legend Legend

1:16,000

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

e Str ce

Fer ry

S t re

Rt

e Lin

a le Tr

er Pow

ay s W

• Five inholdings may pose management challenges and the status of legal access to these properties has not been defined.

Brid

e Eam

ro o k

• Numerous site entrances and a lack of signs for clear travel routes leads to visitor confusion and the formation of new

• At 775 acres, CHR is a large and thus relatively rare tract of forest in this suburbanized area and likely serves as significant habitat and a migration corridor for wildlife. This role needs protection from harmful human activities.

a ce B

• A power line, historic road, and network of interconnected and duplicate trails crisscross the site, many of which are severely eroded from overuse and Illegal vehicles. These increase the rate of erosion and can impact water quality.

• Police cite their lack of off-road vehicles as an impediment to adequately patrolling CHR, allowing illegal activities to continue. Routine patrol is essential for eliminating illegal activities.

Furn

• Dead wood and pine seedlings pose a fire risk to CHR and neighboring residences. Steep slopes could be a hindrance to fire fighters in an emergency. These two types of vegetation in combination increase risk of forest fires.

Summary Analysis Map

trails and a sense that any activities are permissible.

et

Summarized below are the significant major points in developing a management plan.

Carolina Hill

Access & Trails

Coniferous-Deciduous

Wetlands

Streets

Lakes & Rivers

Excessive Drained >12% Slope

General Water Flow

Not Mixed Coniferous - Deciduous

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

13


Management Alternative: Rally for Recreation & Education A variety of passive recreation choices draw users to CHR throughout the year. Mountain bikers, runners, horseback riders, and birders enjoy the shaded trails that meander through diverse landscapes. Winter activities including cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing reveal new seasonal discoveries. Outdoor recreation fosters appreciation for the natural environment and stewardship. Educational opportunities abound with three public schools positioned within one mile of CHR. • Multi-use trails designed specifically for hiking, biking, horses, skiing, and ADA access reduce damage to sensitive soils and promote safety among user groups. Many redundant trails have been eliminated, allowing for efficient use of management resources. Mountain bike trails traverse slopes under 12% connecting to existing off-site trails in adjacent Furnace Brook Watershed to the west and along the Bridle Trail to the east of CHR. Wayfinding signs direct users to clearly marked trails to prevent damage to sensitive areas. • Simple campsites sited near the high point of Carolina Hill provide families and community organizations opportunities to gather and experience nature under the stars. Composting toilets contain waste and protect water quality. • A new observation tower atop Carolina Hill, the highest point in Marshfield, is a popular destination and restores historic panoramic views to New Inlet and beyond. • Upon arrival at CHR, visitors are greeted by a kiosk in the parking lot near the Eames Way Elementary School providing guidelines, trail information, and facts about the unique features of the site. Clearly defined routes protect wildlife habitat while encouraging outdoor exploration.

• Modest user fees help fund management and upkeep of the new facilities. • A new bus stop on Route 3A near the southwestern entrance to CHR provides more people greater access to the Reservation. The Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) services Marshfield and surrounding towns. Public transportation may reduce parking needs and possible risks of chemical pollutants from motor vehicles. Less automobile and fossil fuel consumption benefits the environment overall.

K

Advantages

*

• Increased human presence provides more eyes for security, greater opportunities for oversight and stewardship, and increases community investment in the future of CHR.

High Pt

• Environmental education is used to teach the relevance and importance of fragile NHESP habitats, enhance understanding of why certain management strategies have been implemented (e.g. interpretive trail), and increase the likelihood of compliance to benefit the ecosystem (a project goal).

Disadvantages

• Increased use of the site may lead to greater environmental impacts including soil erosion on trails, wildlife disturbance, vegetation loss, and increased invasive species. Water quality may suffer from waste and sedimentation.

DPW

Bus Stop

• Costs to construct and maintain the expanded facilities may be significantly higher. • User fees may limit use by some people.

3A Rt

• A wetland boardwalk and observation blind near the Eames Way Elementary School is a perennial favorite of students. The three nearby public schools use CHR as an outdoor environmental science lab. Rare freshwater upland wetlands provide opportunities to commune with nature, observe wildlife, and provide ongoing environmental education, developing future stewards of CHR’s ecosystem and beyond.

• Picnic tables and shelters sited near parking areas off Route 3A and Eames Way Elementary School provide easily accessed community outdoor space for socializing and define gathering areas within the Reservation. Small shelters constructed on slopes less than 5% accommodate groups and provide an ideal place for area students to relax while on field trips to CHR.

Legend

K

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Kiosk

Multiuse trails Mt. Bike/Pedestrian Parking access Access Wetland Bridle trail Easements CHR Boundary

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Management Alternative: Managing for Ecological Health Concerns for the overall health and protection of the Furnace Brook Aquifer figured prominently in discussions with stakeholders and neighbors of CHR. Unique land features, proximity to other open spaces, and the presence of rare species and critical habitat shaped “Managing for Ecological Health,” an alternative that aims to restore and enhance fragile ecosystems on the site. In this scenario, the land is allowed to rest and regenerate from years of activity that have stressed the ecosystem. Abundant clean water and thriving wildlife are only some of the expected benefits. • The numerous trails with damaged and eroding soils in the north and southwest are closed, stabilized, and re-vegetated. Free from disturbance by horses and cyclists, the rare wetlands are protected from siltation and places with highly erodible soils on slopes greater than 12% are mostly protected from erosion. Without horse’s manure at CHR, it is also less likely that water quality will become compromised or the seeds of invasive plants will be introduced in the manure. • A limited number of well-designed hiking only trails in the southwest quadrant permit focused, effective maintenance, leading to improved ecological health and a more pleasant hiking experience. When the vegetation begins to regrow, water quality in Furnace Brook Aquifer improves as sediment is filtered out. • Areas of key habitat, including sensitive wetlands and the interior, are safeguarded from disruption and fragmentation by significantly reducing trails coverage and access in the north and southeast. Rare and endangered wildlife are able to flourish without interference and the stress of regular human contact. Wildlife like the Eastern box turtle, a species of special concern, is able to hibernate and reproduce without the risk of accidental crushing by mountain bikes and horses. Eames Way is reserved for official vehicle access only.

• Volunteer groups of neighbors, students, and other community members conduct ecological monitoring, gathering the data needed to understand the ecology of CHR and make informed management decisions. Students gain valuable skills in the scientific process while building a relationship to the land that will sustain them into the future. Using a workforce of community volunteers helps to meet the project goals with a minimal budget while giving the community a sense of ownership, stewardship, and understanding of the local environment. • The deer population is reduced if biodiversity begins to decline from over-browsing or a consensus is reached to try to reduce Lyme disease rates through herd thinning. • To protect water quality from waste and provide a safe haven for wildlife, including rare and endangered species, dogs are not permitted on the hiking trails.

Advantages

• This approach meets the goal of improving ecological health, including water quality, biodiversity, and endangered species protection, while keeping costs down. Participation in ensuring the security of the water supply and the health of the environment generates community understanding and a commitment to the successful outcome of management efforts.

*

High Pt

Disadvantages

• Recreational opportunities are reduced, though the need for outdoor spaces for physical activity remains high. With less exposure to the natural world people may be less inclined to take a stewardship role and with fewer people to oversee activities at CHR, enforcement of the rules could be more challenging. Trying to limit access to selected areas could be very difficult to enforce as there is a precedent of a variety of activities legal or otherwise occurring at CHR. Finally, there is the potential of accidents occurring if hunting to reduce the deer population is adopted.

3A Rt

• Visitor use is concentrated on the well-maintained trails in the southeast of CHR through limited parking at the bridle trail entrance off Ferry Street. The parking area has been retrofitted with rain gardens that capture stormwater and filter contamination from vehicles common in parking lots. As the vegetation grows back in former parking areas along Route 3A and near Eames Way Elementary School, wildlife returns and water quality improves. With fewer people using the site, the

water supply is more secure for everyone in Marshfield.

Legend CHR Boundary

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Pedestrian-only trail Parking Access Wetlands Bridle trail Easements Closed area

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

15


Management Alternative: Synthesis The preceding alternatives were presented to the community. Their responses to those alternatives shaped “Synthesis,” which combines elements of the other two while balancing the project goals, foremost of which is to protect water quality, with a realistic understanding of community expectations and restoration of CHR’s natural systems. Because CHR was purchased to protect the drinking water supply, activities that might impact water quality are moderated in this plan. Through the long-term monitoring process and an adaptable approach to management, a sustainable balance is achieved that benefits the environment and the health and wellbeing of the community through access to clean water and natural spaces. • Through the establishment of management zones, management strategies can be targeted, timely, and sitespecific depending on the current conditions. For example, seasonal trail closures might occur during periods of intensive wildlife breeding. • An interpretive kiosk near the Eames Way Elementary School parking area provides useful site and educational information about CHR. Visitors can add to a list of recent wildlife sightings, pick up a trail map, read bulletins and the rules, or learn about ecology. The kiosk also serves as a stewardship hub for the neighborhood, displaying care and stewardship oversight schedules of CHR by the community. • Expanding the current facilities to include a shelter with picnic tables near the southwest parking area off Route 3A provides an outdoor gathering space for groups, easily accessed by those with limited mobility. Covered picnic tables allow people to use the site in a range of weather conditions.

• The number of trails is reduced while the remaining trails receive regular maintenance and are designed for specific uses, thereby improving the safety of users. These trails are generally routed away from areas of key habitat, including sensitive wetlands, and steep slopes, to minimize the impacts of human activity and fragmentation on wildlife including the accidental injury of rare or endangered species. Mountain bike trails connect with off-site trails along the Bridle Trail and in the Furnace Brook Watershed Conservation Area west of CHR and Route 3A. With the closing of excessive trails, habitat expands with the re-growth of vegetation, increasing the aquifer recharge capacity. • Access is maintained for hikers, horses, and mountain bikes, contingent upon the outcome of the ecological monitoring and ongoing trail maintenance by regular user groups.

Benefits

• This alternative allows all user groups to maintain some access to CHR while trails and facilities are maintained at a more manageable level.

*

High Pt

• Ecological degradation is reduced because there is less waste, erosion, noise, and fragmentation. With the mitigation of soil erosion and stormwater best management practices installed in the parking lots , water quality and quantity is improved.

DPW

• The modest additions in infrastructure are relatively inexpensive ways to provide significant benefits to the community and the ecology of CHR.

Disadvantages

• Though recreational opportunities are more limited than the present, unsustainable levels, wildlife may still be disrupted and other impacts such as erosion may persist. • The reduced access and closures may be difficult to enforce, particularly in the beginning.

3A Rt

• Neighborhood and school access to CHR is maintained and improved by addressing erosion and drainage of trails. Trails provide an alternative to vehicular transportation to school. The overall number of entrances and parking areas is reduced to concentrate visitors to three well-maintained parking lots with trailheads that discourage overuse of the site. To the benefit of wildlife and people, stormwater best management practices, such as rain gardens, are constructed to filter out chemicals typically found in parking lots. Water filtration and

retention capacity of the land increases with the increased vegetation.

Legend CHR Boundary

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Kiosk Picnic Area Horse/Pedestrian Mt. Bike/Pedestrian Parking access Access Wetlands Easements

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Essential First Steps This section identifies the essential first steps in managing CHR and makes suggestions as to how they might be implemented. A list of resources and potential sources of support are provided in the appendix.

Increase Law Enforcement Presence

Ecological Assessment

To address the issue of on-going illegal activity at CHR causing damage to the environment and threatening public health and safety.

• Purchase an ATV to facilitate patrols. Consider partnering with other Town departments to make the purchase or apply for community policing grants.

• Work with law enforcement in Marshfield and the Environmental Police, neighbors, and community volunteers to develop a mutually agreeable course of action.

• Equip volunteers with radios (and possibly T-shirts) to conduct patrols in teams as “conservation ambassadors” (see “ATV Task Force.”)

• Identify police and community liaisons to coordinate efforts and serve as primary contact points.

• Do targeted patrols during periods of heavy violation on the weekends. Issue citations for violations. Identify repeat violators.

ATV Task Force The Falmouth Police Department is outfitted with two 4x4 All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) acquired through a Community Policing grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). Falmouth decided to purchase the ATVs to assist the department in combating the illegal operation of dirt bikes and ATVs within the town. Other uses for the ATVs include crowd control, locating lost children or an elderly person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, patrolling beaches or wooded areas where a patrol cruiser could not gain access. Through the same grant process, the department was able to purchase a trailer, which is used to store the ATVs and make their deployment easy anywhere within town. The unit is supervised by Sgt. Christopher Hamilton and consists of seventeen sworn police officers. Each member had to attend a Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council approved course. This course entailed not only the operation of the ATVs under different situations but also familiarized each officer with the machine and stressed safety at all times. (Town of Falmouth Police Department)

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• Inventory flora, fauna, habitat, and likely travel patterns, obtain population estimates, delineate wetlands, and certify vernal pools. °° Use the data to guide management decisions and determine the appropriateness and locations of activities and facilities. For example, horseback riding might be closed in box turtle (a species of special concern) nesting habitat at certain times of the year. °° Methods might include conducting a rapid ecological assessment or “Bioblitz” with assistance from state agencies or non-profits, or hiring professional environmental consultants (see “What is BioBlitz?”). These techniques are relatively inexpensive, quick ways to gain understanding of an area’s ecology and can be done with the help of volunteers with professional guidance. See the appendix for a reference on the topic. Note that this method was used at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield and it is possible there may be an opportunity for collaboration with the Audubon Society.

A BioBlitz is a unique 24-hour event in which teams of volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members work together to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, and other organisms as possible. Since the success of the first BioBlitz in 1996, many organizations world-wide have repeated this concept. BioBlitz is designed to increase the public’s awareness of the variety of life in their immediate neighborhood and the ecosystem services these various species can provide to improve quality of life. The study generates a list of species found in a park or nature preserve, a first step in successful land management. The BioBlitz has the potential to identify species that should be monitored or controlled. It may identify unique aspects of the area that might otherwise not have been known. This information along with recommendations from the scientists is supplied to the municipality.

°° Include invasive species inventory and management plan. Identify and map invasive species on site and begin the systematic removal of these plants by trained citizens, prioritizing those in sensitive areas such as wetlands or endangered species habitat. Periodically monitor for new incursions.

While budget constraints have hindered the purchase of ATVs, Marshfield officials may want to consider making an interdepartmental purchase or grant application to acquire off-road patrol vehicles. The Conservation Commission is responsible for managing 2,500 acres of conservation land. The Department of Public Works maintains 18 town wells and many acres of land protected by the Water Resource Protection Zone. The Marshfield Fire Department responds to off-road emergencies in remote locations. And Marshfield Police patrol within the entire town limits including the four-mile coastline. Cooperation among town departments and creative grant writing may facilitate acquisition of the vehicles.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

• Conduct a fire risk assessment as part of a forest management plan developed in consultation with professionals in forest fire management, forestry, and ecology. Strategies may involve creating firebreaks along the CHR boundary and reducing fuel loads.

What is BioBlitz?

gettyimages.com by Stephen Chernin

According to Sargent Hamilton, the Falmouth ATV task force, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Environmental Police and State Troopers, has successfully tackled the illegal off-road vehicle issue in Falmouth. Marshfield residents voice similar concerns about recurrent unauthorized off-road motor vehicles damaging trails, accelerating erosion, and impacting wildlife. Marshfield Police cite the lack of Department–owned off-road vehicles as an impediment to adequately patrol Carolina Hill Reservation, which allows illegal activities to continue.

Collect relevant data to be used as a guide in the creation of management plans and in assessing the effectiveness of management actions. Monitor regularly and make revisions as necessary.

A BioBlitz is fun and raises community appreciation for natural areas.

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Essential First Steps Organize Stewardship Groups

Park Ambassador Program Volunteers in the Park (VIP)

To stretch minimal budgets, involve community members to perform needed work while encouraging investment in the outcome and success of projects and the future of CHR. • Identify leaders (temporary or long-term) to head-up efforts in the areas of ecology/science, law enforcement, and maintenance as primary contact points between the Police Department, Conservation Commission, scientists, and other experts. The role of these leaders is to coordinate projects or oversee the delegation of tasks to other volunteers. Leaders and other volunteers are responsible for working in accordance with the rules and guidelines determined by Town officials. • Enlist a range of community members including students, neighbors, birders, and recreational users such as mountain bikers and horseback riders. • Volunteer activities could include trail maintenance, sign making, patrols, and ecological monitoring.

gettyimages.com by Yellowdog Productions

Volunteer stewardship can be highly effective at maintaining a public site such as CHR.

“The Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Department is home to 210 parks located on more than 17,600 acres of parkland throughout Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s volunteer effort started in 2004 with just 100 volunteers willing to pick up trash in local parks. Today, the program has expanded to over 16,000 doing work ranging from planting flowers to serving at special Park and Rec events to being Park Ambassadors. Mecklenburg County, like so many other government entities, faces historic budget shortfalls. With less staff and the same number of parks, programs and centers to run and maintain, employees are overtaxed trying to provide basic services. “Mecklenburg County’s Park Ambassador Program’s main objective is to recruit, train and empower local residents 18 and older by allowing them to serve as Park Ambassadors for their communities. The program provides an avenue for volunteering to individuals and groups that wish to “give back” to the community. Volunteers are a visible presence in their respective neighborhood parks providing helpful information about the parks to their neighbors and friends, and also relaying any concerns or problems in the parks to park officials. “The Park Ambassador adoption program offers an opportunity for businesses, neighborhood associations, churches, schools, civic clubs and other organizations to take “ownership” of a park, greenway, or reserve. The Ambassadors adopt a specific property and act as the “eyes and ears” of their communities. On foot or bike, Park Ambassadors, as representatives of the department, greet patrons, answer questions and support staff when needed. They assist with programs, maintenance, safety and operations in many parks and nature preserves. Volunteers monitor and report back to staff information on the parks, trails, and greenways. “The volunteer work is meant to supplement the efforts of full-time Park and Recreation employees. Collaborating with local groups, schools, and organizations has paid off in a big way for Mecklenburg County. Last year, volunteers spent 100,000 hours doing County projects. That time is valued at over $2 million according to the Points of Light Foundation.” Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina

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Determine Appropriate Recreational Uses, Locations, and Facilities To be based on the outcome of ecological assessments and the ability to adequately maintain them. Uses might include camping, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, horseback riding, dog walking, and cross-country skiing. Facilities might include a wetlands boardwalk near the elementary school or universal access trails. • Continue to inventory facilities and prioritize severely eroded and denuded areas for immediate mitigation and restoration. Consider using a simple grading system to determine the areas in greatest need of immediate attention. • Close and block off extraneous and severely impacted trails and improve ones that will stay open. Remain flexible about possibility of changing course as new data becomes available. • Congruent with the goal to protect and improve water quality, limit the use of horses. Create a shorter, safer, well-designed, riding trail to remain open contingent upon the outcome of an ecological assessment confirming that horses will not impact sensitive wildlife and on the continued maintenance by trail users, including waste removal, and erosion and invasive plant control. • Have volunteers track impacts associated with these activities. • Consider limiting or closing use by dog walkers if problems persist with waste not being removed and dogs being allowed off leash.

Other Recommended Actions

• Construct and/or restore a high profile section of trail to serve as demonstration and model. • To maximize public benefit from limited resources, initiate inter-departmental collaborations, unify efforts in areas of overlapping needs, interests, and goals, including resource management, equipment and land acquisition, and law enforcement. • Initiate the collection of wildlife collision data through the police department to determine migratory patterns and severity of conflicts with deer. • Promote the reporting of roadkill to the Department of Transportation, particularly on Route 3A, to determine wildlife migratory patterns and whether there is need for crossing facilities. • Solicit support of corporations and local businesses for donations and publicity. • Use on-site material such as white oak to build facilities if it can be sustainably harvested in compliance with the forest management plan. • Investigate the possibility of hiring interns to assist with the implementation of projects. • Engage an outside organization such as the non-profit Wildlands Trust to oversee management. • Develop a “biodiversity” trail/tour throughout Marshfield to draw positive attention to the asset of 2500 protected acres across several unique habitat types. • Install surveillance cameras in key locations if other enforcement methods are insufficient or ineffective.

To meet the objective of protecting water quality, provide a more realistic budget for maintaining the 2500 acres of Conservation Commission property than the $2.43/acre/year currently allotted. Consider implementing user fees, diverting a portion of funds dedicated to land acquisition, or adding a stormwater or other fee to the water bill to cover some management costs. • Hire a ranger to work with the Conservation Agent, possibly seasonally, to assist with enforcement; to coordinate and oversee volunteer efforts; and to help in the maintenance, monitoring, and plan implementation. Provide the necessary tools to perform the duties effectively, including a radio and access to a vehicle, possibly an ATV. Consider sharing a position with other Town Departments. • Institute a tiered penalty system for repeated rule violations. • Create a call-in line for complaints about illegal activity at CHR. • Explore the possibility of sharing a volunteer coordinator with other Town Departments or local non-profits. • Build one or more deer ex-closures to monitor the effects of deer browsing on vegetation over time. If not undertaken sooner, consider reducing the deer population if signs of overbrowsing become evident.

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Elements: Recognizing Problem Trails Presented here are several problematic trail conditions. The next few sheets present potential solutions.

Deep Trenching Permitting

A trenched trail makes a hiker feel as though they are traveling in the bottom of a half-pipe. Without maintenance, this situation worsens with every storm, as runoff cuts the trench deeper and increases the flow rate. A major threat to water quality from sedimentation, trenched trails require immediate attention.

Any disturbance to the natural environment has impacts, and trails are no exception. Trail construction or maintenance should make every effort to do no harm. Ideally trails should be routed to avoid sensitive resources such as streams and wetlands, rare species habitats, and sensitive cultural sites. However, trail development within or alongside of sensitive areas is often necessary and justifiable. Streams need to be crossed, steep slopes traversed, and unique features interpreted. Allowing controlled access to sensitive ecological or cultural areas may also be an integral part of educating the public about the value of protecting these resources. When sensitive areas cannot be avoided, trail builders have legal and ethical obligations to minimize impacts by going through the proper regulatory procedures. In Massachusetts, activities occurring within 100 feet of a coastal or inland wetland or within 200 feet of a perennial stream or river are governed by the Wetlands Protection Act. Among the many activities regulated by this act are changing run-off characteristics, diverting surface water, and the destruction of plant life – activities commonly associated with trail building and maintenance. If trail-building activities will occur within 100 feet of a wetland or 200 feet of stream or river you must file a “Request for Determination of Applicability” (RDA) form (http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/ approvals/wpaform1.pdf) with the Marshfield conservation commission.

Excessive Widening Trails can become widened from single or double tracks to a wide “freeway” from poor trail design and lack of guidance along the trail, such as stones lining path edges. This common occurrence usually indicates a section that is plagued by poor drainage or some other condition users need to avoid, such as muddy areas.

Shortcuts

Excessive widening increases rapid runoff and sedimentation of waterways.

Frequently users will take the shortest distance between two points to avoid a wet spot, disregarding the designated trail, and a web of trails is created. This can create excessive and unnecessary erosion problems. To prevent this, trails should be clearly marked and properly maintained. Often this means adding barriers, such as rocks or brush to avoid cutting. When a steep grade demands a switchback, the trail should be wide or curved enough that the trail return remains invisible. Shortcuts should be closed and vegetated to prevent future user.

Saturated Soils Even small areas with wet soils can deteriorate quickly into muddy areas where users begin to widen the trail. This degrades natural resources such as water quality. Raising the tread crown can remedy the problem and provide a more positive user experience. Duplicate trails should be blocked and re-vegetated.

Trail Life Cycle

Stage 1: New trail

Stage 2: Lightly worn trail

Stage 3: Trail needing repair

Stage 4: Trail beyond repair

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To prevent habitat degradation and for the convenience of users, trails cutting though wet areas either need crowning if seasonal, or a bridge or boardwalk.

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These excessively worn trails have degraded beyond realistic repair and should be closed by blocking with brush and rerouting.

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Management Toolbox: Trail Erosion Solutions Cribbed Stairs

Waterbars

Downslope Ditch

Cribbed steps are ideal for steep slope remediation where walking and running are the primary uses. To prevent users from leaving the steps and causing erosion, “gargoyles” (boulders) should be positioned on either side of the structure. This structure must be posted as closed to bicycles and is not ADAaccessible.

Waterbars divert water runoff away from a trail or road. They can be ridden over if buried correctly at 75% of diameter. These would be especially useful under the power line to help control erosion.

Trails across steep terrain of greater than 20% can improve drainage and reduce erosion while still allowing travel. Trails should have a cross slope draining to a down slope ditch. • Carefully remove all vegetation from the trail, using it in other locations where possible.

Note: Rot-resistant on-site white oak could be logged and milled with a portable mill to make any of these structures.

Boulders prevent shortcutting and degradation

60o

Plan View

Waterflow

• Cut a ditch along the lower edge of the trail and remove soil for use in another location as needed. The ditch should be at least 1 foot depending on the topography. Steeper slopes will need to be deeper, since runoff will be traveling faster. • The image below shows a retrofitted trail.

Top of Slope Plan View Plan View 6” x 6” or 4” x 6” or equiv.

Backfill with gravel or crushed stone

Downhill side of trail

Frequency of installation increases with steepness

Riser

5 1/2”

8” to 16” Tread

l Trai Elevation Two 1/2” x 16” rebar

3/4 buried

Two 1/2” x 16” rebar approx 6” from ends

approx. 6” from ends Cross Section

Cross Section` CrossSection Section` Cross

Trail Trail ditch cut min 1’-0”

Crowned Trail Trails on hilly terrain less than 20% grade can be crowned to improve drainage.

Cribbed stairs on a steep grade improve safety and reduce erosion.

The east side of CHR under the utility lines would benefit greatly from a series of waterbars. CrossSection Cross Section`

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

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Trail Crown

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Management Toolbox: Wet Areas, Drainage & Accessibility Extend kick rail with logs or rocks for visibility

Bridges

Traversing Trail

For use over wet areas where minimal disturbance of the bottom sediment ensures healthy aquatic life and improves overall water quality. Footings should be dug with a posthole digger away from the water’s edge preferably during low levels.

Generally trails should travel with the land’s contours instead of cutting perpendicular up the steepest slope. This is especially important for universal access. Preferred Traversing Trail

Inaccessible & erosion prone trail

Rot resistant white oak could be harvested from CHR and milled on a portable band saw mill. 2”x 6”x 6’ white oak with 1/4” to 1/2” gaps

2”x 6” stringers 265’

2” x”4 Kick rail on 4” x 4” blocks 3’ O.C.

255’

245’

ADA Accessibility – New Rulings This year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) revised rules went into effect allowing “other power-driven mobility devices” to be used by “individuals with mobility disabilities. This DOJ ruling applies to any place, indoors or outdoors, that is open to the public. Under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II this DOJ rule applies to trails on state or local government lands. The ADA Title III also applies to other “public accommodations” that would include trails open to the public on privately or commercially managed lands. (American Trails, 2011)

Contour

NRCS

Soils: Path and Trails Limitations Plan View Depth to below frost line

Cement filled 8-10” tubes dug 36” with a post hole digger during a dry time of year to minimize impact

Trail Drains Trail drains should be installed at locations along the trails where normal cross slope will not allow adequate drainage. To protect trail, these should be placed every 25 to 50 feet.

Legend

Plan View Area added for runoff

Wet areas in lowlands where streams cross the trail need a bridge or boardwalk

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

According to NRCS portions of Carolina Hill Reservation have limited suitability for trail and paths due to soils conditions, e.g., hydric soils, steep grades, and potential for erosion.

Bridges and walkways allow human activities with minimal habitat interferences.

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Management Toolbox: Signs Why Strive for Consistent Signs? Appropriate trail signs and markings provide information, enhance safety, and contribute to a positive user experience. Trail signs are perhaps the most important form of communication with users, as signs are the message they see every time they visit. Consistent signs should enhance safety, create a positive trail identity, help meet user expectations, and contribute to the public’s support for trails. There are four basic types: • Trailhead signs and kiosks • Intersection directional signs

Naming Trails

Trailhead Signs

Intersection Directional Signs

DCR recommends: “Trail names can be an important element of the outdoor experience and can help draw visitors onto the trail. The “Blue Heron Trail,” “Summit Trail,” or the “Round the Mountain Trail” convey to the user information about the wildlife, destination, or experience that lies ahead. Trails named for blaze colors, memorializing a trail advocate or designating a DCR management component may not be as appealing, functional or memorable for users. Whenever possible, utilize trail names that suggest an attractive destination, introduce the natural, cultural or historical context for the trail, or otherwise capture the imagination and experience of the intended user. Please keep in mind that not all trails need to be or should be named.” (DCR Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual)

Trailhead kiosks or signs may come in different forms depending on the setting, complexity, and information needs.

Intersection directional signs are the most important source of information for users, and can serve to enhance safety, avoid bad user experiences, and increase use of underused sections of the trail. If someone knows that there is a waterfall, lake, or other attraction down the trail, they may be tempted to hike to it and thus increase visitation to that destination.

• Reassurance markers and blazes • Interpretive displays It is important to consider the different purposes of each type of sign and use appropriately. For example, using reassurance blazes to indicate allowed trail uses is probably inappropriate because it may require more blazing, and is very difficult to change if the allowed uses change. On the other hand, using trailhead signs to designate allowed uses is simpler to implement, requires much less maintenance, and can be easily changed.

Kiosks at Bear Swamp entrances are attractive. Trail intersection signs help the user avoid confusion and enjoy the experience.

Directional Change Indicators

General Trail Sign Standards

Double blazes should be used in places that require extra user alertness (e.g. important turns, junctions with other trails, and other confusing locations). These should be used sparingly to avoid becoming meaningless or visually obtrusive. Blazes are unnecessary at gradual turns and welldefined trail locations such as switchbacks.

The following are general trail sign standards. • Signs within a site should be consistent with respect to colors, materials, and look. Ideally, adjacent facilities, such as picnic tables, will also be consistent. • According to DCR, the ideal trail sign standard should be routed brown signs (wood or plastic composite material) with white lettering.

A reassurance marker should be placed so that it can be seen from the direction indicator. Be sure to mark confusing areas to guide users coming from both (or all) directions. Avoid arrows since they can be confusing.

• Routed signs are aesthetically appealing and resistant to damage and vandalism. Aluminum trail signs are not recommended since they are easily vandalized.

Simple signs at the trailhead greet and give valuable information to the user. Consistent signs provide useful information, enhance safety, and contribute to the user’s positive experience. This Way

Caution

Right Turn

The three types of ‘reassurance markers’ used on state and national trails to clearly direct users. Selected sections edited and taken from DCR Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual, 2010 available at http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/greenway/docs/DCR_guidelines.pdf

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Appendix Current Massachusetts Hunting Law A person shall not discharge any firearm or release any arrow upon or across any state or hard surfaced highway, or within one hundred and fifty feet, of any such highway, or possess a loaded firearm or hunt by any means on the land of another within five hundred feet of any dwelling in use, except as authorized by the owner or occupant thereof (Chapter 131-Section 58).

Lyme Disease Rates Cases of Lyme disease infection reported by physicians in Marshfield, MA to the Marshfield Board of Health (where these infections were acquired cannot be verified): Year

Reported Lyme Disease Cases

51

2007-2008

49

2008-2009

88 (higher rate probably due to change in tracking methods)

2009-2010

52

2010-2011

45

Rapid Ecological Assessment Book Sayre, Roger, Ellen Roca, Gina Sedaghatkish, Bruce Young (Author), Shirley Keel, Roberto Roca, Stewart Sheppard, Thomas Lovejoy, Stuart Sheppard, Nature in Focus: Rapid Ecological Assessment. The Nature Conservancy, Island Press, Washington, D.C. 2000

Grant for Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Revitalization Projects “Preference will be given to instream, riparian corridor, and coastal wetland projects that are part of a larger restoration/ revitalization plan, address causes of impairment over symptoms, result in Ecosystem-based river and wetland restoration projects, including (but not limited to): improved connection between communities and their rivers, other innovative methods to restore the ecological integrity and community value of, projects beneficial to a watershed or river system or are a component of a larger restoration/revitalization effort, rather than an individual site, projects that restore aquatic and riparian corridor habitat for multiple native species and multiple life stages of those species. A list and description of current Restoration and Revitalization Priority Projects is available.” “Selected projects will be eligible to receive technical assistance from DER staff, technical services by qualified contractors paid for by DER, and/or direct grant funding. These projects will remain on the Priority Projects list and maintain eligibility for support in subsequent years until they are completed or new information warrants a revision of status.”

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NRCS Erosion Potential from Roads and Trails

Habitat Connectivity, Roadkill Database and Wildlife Road Crossing Infrastructure The following is from Linking Landscapes: An effort to improve landscape connectivity in Massachusetts “For documenting and safeguarding wildlife migration routes to improve habitat connectivity in MA, Linking Landscapes has three function components: (1) a statewide wildlife roadkill database, which will allow the public document wildlife roadkill observations through an online mapping interface; (2) a study that identifies turtle road-crossing “hotspots,” and prioritizes sites for transportation infrastructure improvements; (3) a database that allows the public to document the migration routes of amphibians across roadways. “In 2008, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program entered into an interagency agreement to streamline Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) review through detailed early project coordination, reducing impacts though the evaluation of preliminary project designs and investigating creative cost-effective mitigation opportunities. The success of the partnership has led to the initiation of Linking Landscapes, a proactive wildlife and transportation collaborative between NHESP and MassDOT, together with UMass and the Vernal Pool Association, to cost-effectively evaluate state wildlife transportation issues, prioritize wildlife-related transportation mitigation opportunities, integrate wildlife upgrades into transportation infrastructure, improve highway right-of-ways for wildlife, and foster environmental stewardship partnerships with the public.” <http://linkinglandscapes.info/roads/home.html>

Sources for Trails Information American Trails http://www.americantrails.org/resources/ accessible/OPDMD-DOJ-requirement-basic.html

ay Eames W

2006-2007

http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/der/der_maps/pp_map.htm. Please direct all questions to Nick Wildman (617-626-1527; nick. wildman@state.ma.us). Department of Fish and Game, Division of Ecological Restoration, Riverways Program 251 Causeway Street, Suite 400, Boston, Massachusetts 02114. www.mass.gov/dfwele/ der (617) 626-1540.

ne er li Pow

Legend

The map above from NRCS shows areas prone to various levels of erosion and should be used when planning trails. For further information see NRCS Soil Web Survey, http://websoilsurvey. nrcs.usda.gov/app/HomePage.htm

Mass DCR Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual, January 2010, available at http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/ greenway/docs/DCR_guidelines.pdf

Sources for Water Information http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/drinking/splnr.htm http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/drinking/spgwsup.htm

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Resources Federal Government Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS works with landowners through conservation planning and assistance to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals for productive lands and healthy ecosystems. <http://www.nrcs.usda. gov/> Plants Database. <http://plants.usda.gov/java/> United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service, Plants Database. <http://plants.usda.gov/ java/> United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides grants that fund state environmental programs, non-profits, educational institutions, and others. The grant money is used for a wide variety of projects to achieve the EPA’s overall mission to protect human health and the environment. <http://www.epa. gov/>

State Government Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commission’s mission is education of and support for Conservation Commissions. In addition, MACC works for strong, workable, science-based laws and regulations regarding wetlands, other water resources, open space, and biological resources. <http://maccweb.org> Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife/ Natural Heritage and Endangered Species is responsible for the conservation and

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protection of hundreds of species that are not hunted, fished, trapped, or commercially harvested in the state. <http://www. mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/nhesp/nhesp.htm> Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ overall mission is to safeguard public health from environmental threats and to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural resources of the Commonwealth. <http://www.mass.gov/ ?pageID=eoeeahomepage&L=1&L0=Home&sid=Eoeea> MassDOT maintains Route 3A in Marshfield. <http://www. massdot.state.ma.us/main/Main.aspx> MassGIS is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Office of Geographic Information, a statewide resource for geospatial technology and data. <http://www.mass.gov/mgis/>

Local and Regional Government A list of all Town of Marshfield departments can be found on the following website. <http://www.townofmarshfield.org/Public_ Documents/MarshfieldMA_WebDocs/deptindex> Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District SRPEDD is a regional planning agency serving 27 cities and towns in Southeastern Massachusetts. <http://www.srpedd.org>

Nonprofit Organizations The Lady Byrd Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of

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Texas at Austin, Native Plant Database. <http://www.wildflower. org/plants/> Massachusetts Audubon Society works to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife. The organization cares for 34,000 acres of conservation land, provides educational programs for children and adults, and advocates for sound environmental policies at local, state, and federal levels. <http://www. massaudubon.org> National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks and recreation opportunities. <http://www.nrpa.org/> The mission of the Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. Local Fire Management Specialist-Plymouth, MA – Alex Belote, Abelote@tnc.org. <http://www.nature.org> New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) is today recognized as a leader in conserving working forests, educating the public about forestry, and assisting landowners in the long-term protection and sustainable management of their properties. <http://www. newenglandforestry.org/>

<http://www.nsrwa.org> Sheehan Family Foundation’s mission is to protect the environment and to enhance the quality of education, with a focus on projects in eastern Massachusetts. <http://www. sheehanfoundation.org> The Trustees of Reservations has properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value for public use and enjoyment, in Massachusetts. <http://www.thetrustees.org/> The Watershed Action Alliance of southeastern Massachusetts (WAA) is an environmental advocacy coalition formed in 2002 to address the pressing ecological issues from population growth which continue to impact all watersheds in the region. <http:// www.watershedaction.org> The Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land and preserving the natural heritage of Southeastern Massachusetts. The trust works to permanently protect and steward important habitats and landscapes, including woodlands and fields, ponds, coastal areas, agricultural lands, and river systems. <http://www. wildlandstrust.org/Default.aspx>

North and South Rivers Watershed Association’s (NSRWA) mission is to preserve, restore, maintain and conserve in their natural state the waters and related natural resources within the watershed.

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Bibliography “Accessible Trails”, American Trails, the World’s Largest On-Line Trail Resource, June 19, 2011. <http://www.americantrails.org/ resources/accessible/OPMD-DOJ-requirement-basic.html>

Flink, C. A., Olka, K., and Searns, R. M., Trails for the Twenty-First Century (Vol. 1). Island Press, Washington, DC, 2001.

“ATV Unit”, Town of Falmouth Police Department, Falmouth Police Department, Jan. 21, 2011. <http://www.falmouthpolice.us/ atv_unit.htm>

Grimwade, R., Horner, B., and Everhart, G. Trail Design Guidelines, Regional Trails, Natural Areas and Developed Parks. Portland Parks and Recreation, 2009.

Aust, Michael, et al. Research for the Development of Best Management Practices to Minimize Horse Trail Impact on Hoosier National Forest, Virginia Tech, Department of Forestry, March 2005. Bates, Betty Magoun, and Cynthia Hagar Krusell, Marshfield, A Town of Villages, 1640-1990, Historical Research Associates, 1990; and personal communication with the authors, April, 2011. Belote, Alex, Fire Management Specialist, The Nature Conservancy, Personal Communication, May 11, 2011.

Guide to Sustainable Mountain Trails, USDA Forest Service, Colorado Outdoor Training Initiative, National Park Service. U.S. Government, Denver, 2007.

“BioBlitz”, A Program of the Center for Conservation and Biodiversity and the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, June 20, 2011. <http://web.uconn.edu/mnh/bioblitz/>

“Chipmunks and Shrews, Not Just Mice, Harbor Lyme Disease”. Reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Pennsylvania, ScienceDaily, Eds. Dan Hogan and Michele Hogan, December 12, 2011; June 10, 2011. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/ releases/2007/11/071129183745.htm> Christensen, Sonja, Deer and Moose Biologist, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Personal Communication, May, 2011. An Ecological Assessment of Fire and Biodiversity Conservation Across the Lower 48 States of the U.S.-GFI Technical Report 2007-1 Technical Report Feb, 2007, Global Fire Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, June 22, 2011. “Educator Resource: What is Bioblitz?” Bioblitz Skill Builder, National Geographic Society, June 23, 2011. <http:// www. nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/08/g35 AboutBioBlitz.pdf>

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

Mass DCR Trails Guidelines and Best Practices Manual, January 2010. <http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/greenway/docs/ DCR_guidelines.pdf> Massachusetts Outdoors 2006 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, Public Input for the 2006 Update, 1. The Statewide Land Conservation Plan.

Trail Maintenance and Management: Comparing Relative Impacts of Various User Groups, National Trails Training Partnership, May 2011.

Motzkin, Glenn, Ecologist, Personal Communication, May 11, 2011.

White, D., Waskey, M., Brode, G. P., & Foti, P. E., A Comparative Study of Impacts to Mountain Bike Trails in Five Common Ecological Regions of the Southwestern U.S. (2006). Journal of Parks and Recreation Administration, 24 (2), 21-41.

Ostfeld, Richard, Lyme Disease: The Ecology of a Complex System, Oxford University Press, Inc. New York, NY, 2011.

Buchmann, D. A., Devans Regional Trails Initiative (Vol. 1). Devans, MA, UAS: Buchmann and Way, 2000.

“Sole Source Aquifer Protection Program,” Source Water Protection, EPA, April 01, 2011. <http://water.epa.gov/ infrastructure/drinkingwater/sourcewater/protection/ solesourceaquifer.Cfm> “South Coastal Watersheds,” Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, June 15, 2011. <http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eo eeaterminal&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Air%2C+Water+%26+Climate +Change&L2=Preserving+Water+Resources&L3=Massachusett s+Watersheds&sid=Eoeea&b=terminalcontent&f=eea_water_ southcoastal&csid=Eoeea>

O’Keefe, John, Ecologist, Personal Communication, May 2011.

Bowles, I., Massachusetts Outdoors 2006 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, Department of Environmental Affairs. Boston: Commonwealth of Mass.

Rawinski, Thomas J., Trip Impacts of White-Tailed Deer Overabundance in Forest Ecosystems: An Overview Report, Unpublished Report, June, 2011.

“Open Space Recreation and Open Space Recreation and Conservation Resources”, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, June 15, 2011. <http://www.mass.go v/?pageID=eoeeasubtopic&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Grants+%26 +Technical+Assistance&L2=Guidance+%26+Technical+Assis tance&L3=Open+Space%2C+Recreation%2C+and+Co nservation+Resources&sid=Eoeea>

Wilson, Nate and Dr. Ken Smith, “Prescribed Fire and Oak Regeneration: Using Fire as a Management Tool for Ecological Forestry,” Forest Wisdom, Forest Guild National Publication, FallWinter, 2010. “Winter Moth Pest Alert,”Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, December 2, 2011. <www.mass. gov/dcr> Zoning Bylaws, Town of Marshfield, MA-Amended, April 2010.

“Pest Alert: Winter Moth”, Department of Conservation and Recreation, June 20, 2011. <http://www.mass.gov/dcr/news/winter_moth.pdf>

“Preventing Deer Damage”, UMass Amherst, Agriculture and Landscape Program, Vegetable Program, June 22, 2011. <http:// extension.umass.edu/vegetable/articles/preventing-deerdamage growing deer pop reference> Rawinski, Thomas J. “Impacts of White-Tailed Deer Overabundance in Forest Ecosystems: An Overview”, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Forest Personal Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Newtown Square, PA, June 20, 2011. <www.na.fs.fed.us>

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

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Key Partnerships Many organizations are already engaged in doing valuable work to maintain dialogue, educate, and increase stewardship in Marshfield. Partnerships with town departments, the neighborhoods, and local organizations create a unique and special place by protecting regional open spaces.

Karen Dunn | John C. Lepore | Susannah Spock

The Conway School

Spring 2011

Carolina Hill Reservation: A Framework for Conservation Land Management, Marshfield Conservation Commission

26


The Conway School of Landscape Design is the only institution of its kind in North America. Its focus is sustainable landscape planning and design. Each year, through its accredited, ten-month graduate program just eighteen to nineteen students from diverse backgrounds are immersed in a range of applied landscape studies, ranging in scale from residences to regions. Graduates go on to play significant professional roles in various aspects of landscape planning and design. www.csld.edu Conway

2011 carolina hill reservation marshfield spring low  

Carolina Hill Reservation Conservation Land Management, Marshfield, MA Town’s largest 750 acre water recharge land area with more then 10 lo...

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