Menemsha’s Herring Creek Dredging Begins

A private contractor has begun dredging Herring Creek, which connects Menemsha and Squibnocket Ponds on Martha’s Vineyard.

In recent years, the creek had become clogged by silt, sand, and debris, making it difficult for herring and eels to access the ponds. Last year, an electronic fish counter tallied 36,600 herring passing through the creek and into the pond, a massive decline from peak numbers that once saw the passage of over 750,000 fish.

The dredging is part of a five-year restoration project that began after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Two years later, the Wampanoag tribe of Aquinnah, which manages the herring run on the creek, was awarded $670,000 in federal money from the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency program, a local matching fund of $212,793, and a grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to perform the dredging and other restoration work related to the storm damage.

The dredging must be completed by February 15, so as not to interfere with the spawning of winter flounder.