Stewart's Creek Estuary Restoration Project


The Stewart's Creek Estuary Restoration Project will restore approximately 14 acres of salt marsh and estuarine habitat in lower Stewart's Creek in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Construction was completed in November of 2013. The project restored tidal flushing to the salt pond/marsh system by replacing the 3-foot diameter culvert under Ocean Avenue with a larger 6-foot wide by 4-foot high culvert, expanding the upper and lower limits of the tide range within Stewart’s Creek.

The culvert is equipped with a combination sluice/flap gate on its downstream side that can be closed during storms to reduce the potential for tidewater to flood surrounding uplands. The culvert is equipped with a permanent grate on the ocean side of the combination gate and a removable grate on the upstream side. The culvert has stop log slots on the upstream end as a back up to the combination gate. The lower three stop logs can be used as a weir to maintain salt pond.

The area immediately upstream of the culvert serves as a sediment collection basin to capture sand transported into the marsh from the beach. An access area, consisting of a ramp or loading area, allows maintenance equipment to access the sedimentation basin.  

The project will restore benthic productivity and salt marsh to an estuarine area that has been dominated by brackish water marsh species, including the invasive species, Phragmites australis, also known as the Common Reed. Restoring benthic habitat in Stewart’s Creek will support the estuarine food web and increase use of the area by estuarine fish and wildlife. The restored salt marsh will provide habitat and nursery grounds for estuarine fish and wildlife and a link between Stewart’s Creek and marine fish and wildlife habitats. 

The Town of Barnstable is the project sponsor. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration are partners in the project. The project was implemented under the Estuary Restoration Act Authority.

Project Status (updated July 2016):
The gate is open restoring tidal exchange to the Stewart's Creek estuary. The Town is monitoring the project to assess its effectiveness in restoring estuarine habitat and to identify adaptive management needs. 


For more information, please contact the Project Manager, by e-mail or by calling 978-318-8347.