Environmental Restoration Sponsorship
Restoring the upper Estuary wetlands through breaching I-95 was requested by the US Environmental Protection Agency and National Marine Fisheries Service.
Supported by US Fish & Wildlife, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, MA Fish & Wildlife, MA Coastal Zone Mgt., Saugus Board of Selectmen & Interest Groups.
Restoring tidal flushing to 500 acres in the Upper Pines River Estuary requires :
- Construction of the Regional Saugus River Floodgate Project to prevent coastal flooding from storm surges;
- Construct improved drainage and shore protection for East Saugus; and
- Then Breach the I-95 embankment where the East Branch of the Pines River was cut off, and widen the existing opening of the Pines River through the embankment.
Project provides opportunity to enhance 500 acres of upper estuary by breaching I-95
Marsh Impacted By I-95 Embankment
Upper Pines River Estuary Problems
- I-95 embankment restricts tidal flow to 500 acres.
- 440 acres of wetlands experience restricted tide levels and flushing.
- Restricted tide levels significantly reduce: fish access, spawning & feeding, and bird & wildlife habitat.
- Restricted tide levels reduce marsh productivity & impacts 38 species of fish.
- Phragmites reed promotes the growth and swarming of the dreaded marsh mosquito, impacts views and aesthetics.
- Growth of phragmites reeds– from 20 acres to a future 80 to 270 acres deteriorates wetlands, contributes to 15 fires per year.