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State Funds Wareham eco-friendly MooringsFrom left: Selectmen Judith Whiteside, Patrick Tropeano and Alan Slavin at Monday's Selectmen meeting.

Wareham is going green in an effort to protect its underwater ecosystem, one of the town's most vital resources.

Selectmen approved a plan Monday to replace existing boat moorings with eco-friendly moorings to preserve underwater eelgrass habitats in town waters. Eelgrass is a protected resource that acts as a nursery for many types of fish and shellfish.

Harbormaster Garry Buckminster and Roseanne Joyce of the Massachusetts Port Authority presented their plan to Selectmen, and Joyce said the state is willing to fund a total of $155,000 to replace 62 moorings near eelgrass habitats at Tempest Knob and east of the Onset Pier.

"We will fund the replacement of any mooring that happens to be situated in eelgrass," said Joyce.

The eco-friendly helix moorings use an elastic, "high-tech, bungie cord," as Joyce put it, instead of the chain used by the existing block moorings. According to Buckminster, the chains can scrape away at the eelgrass underwater when they move with the boat and destroy the eelgrass habitat. The helix moorings take up less space than the chain system and don't cause damage to the eelgrass.

"East of the Onset Pier looked like a bomb crater on the floor," said Selectman Peter Teitelbaum, describing what he saw when Buckminster took some Selectmen to the mooring field.

Buckminster said last year the town received funding to replace five town moorings with the helix system, and said the boats rest closer to the moorings with the new system.

"Our bylaws actually are starting to push in promotion of these systems," said Buckminster, also noting that the Army Corps of Engineers also advocates that any new moorings near eelgrass should utilize an eco-friendly system.

Joyce said the Massachusetts Port Authority is working with four other towns in the state on eco-friendly moorings.

Article From: Wareham Week

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