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Marine Life

What Goes Into the Bay
A Statement Presented At the Recent NRC Hearings in Plymouth MA, By Kenneth Kelley, Biologist (
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Pilgrim’s Reports: Marine Ecology Studies Related to Operation at Pilgrim Station

A quick review of their reports indicates, for example, that the following “important” eggs and larvae are entrained: Winter Flounder, and Cunner; Menhaden (baitfish for blues and strippers) are sucked in as young fish (at 1 to 3 inches).

Rainbow Smelt are worth keeping an eye on because their numbers are down in the Jones River.

Chlorine is allowed to be discharged 0.1 ml per liter. Above allowable releases have occurred in the past.

Anecdotal Evidence, Lobsters: Over the years, comments were made about odd looking lobsters caught in the vicinity of the reactor. However little information is forthcoming because either there is nothing to report or reporting would have a negative economic impact on the industry.


Duxbury/Plymouth Bay Complex Important Bird Area: Source: Massachusetts Audubon’s Visit their Web Site: http://www.massaudubon.org/index.php  Important Bird Areas of Massachusetts

Name: Duxbury/Plymouth Bays Complex
State: Massachusetts
County: Plymouth County
Nearest Communities: Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth, Massachusetts

Site Description: The Duxbury/Plymouth Bays Complex, within the boundaries of Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury, is one of the states largest natural embayments with approximately 10,233 acres of bay, 4,600 acres of mud flats at low tide, 800 acres of salt marsh, and 526 acres of beach. The total length of the shoreline is 55 miles, which includes 16 miles of barrier beach. Over the years the site has typically supported one of the largest tern colonies (5,000 pairs) in New England on Plymouth Beach, one of the largest heronries (over 400 pairs) on Clark’s Island, and significant numbers of migratory and wintering shorebirds and waterfowl. This site meets 8 out of 11 possible criteria categories, making it one of the highest ranked IBAs in the state.

Ornithological Summary: Listed species breeding at this Important Bird Area include Piping Plover, Roseate, Least, Common, and Arctic terns. The 10-acre tern colony at the end of Long Beach has periodically supported 5,000 or more pairs of the four species of terns in the past 100 years. Up to 26 pairs of Piping Plovers (5% of the state population) have nested on the site’s barrier beaches. The heronry on Clark’s Island has supported over 400 pairs of 6 species of egrets, herons, and ibis. The saltmarshes support 5% of the state’s breeding population of the WatchListed Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows. The mudflats attract large numbers of migrant shorebirds, especially in late summer and fall. 
Waterfowl of many species, including large numbers of WatchListed Brant Geese and Common Eiders, winter in the harbor and just off the beaches. Migrant falcons, passerines, and thousands of tree swallows pass along the beaches in the fall. The site supports nearly 10% of state’s coastal wintering Black Ducks.

Conservation Issues: Overuse of Plymouth and Duxbury beaches by four-wheel drive vehicles is a major disturbance and threat to shorebirds, terns and the federally listed Piping Plover. Erosion control practices on beaches, such as the use of snowfence, discarded Christmas trees, and the planting of beach grass and other vegetation pose serious threats to Least Tern and Piping Plover habitats. Massachusetts Audubon and MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife have attempted to reduce these impacts, 
but town governments and local people have continued to resist these restrictions. These bays, with their extensive salt marshes, tidelands, and eel grass beds are major nurseries for 
marine fish, shellfish, horseshoe crabs, and other marine invertebrates. Several rivers entering the bays of this site, including Eel River, Town Brook, Jones River, Bluefish River, and the Green Harbor Creek, support spawning populations of anadromous and/or catadromous fish species, such as alewives, blueback herring, rainbow smelt, and American eel.


Anecdotal Evidence - Wild Animals: Trappers contacted Mary Lampert stating that they saw tumors on trapped animals  when the animals were skinned. From previous experience, they did not attribute the increase to cranberry bogs and pesticide use, because pesticides were used on bogs extensively in the 1950’s and 1960’s and no similar rise in tumors and cancers were seen.


Anecdotal Evidence - Dogs/Cats: Veterinarians in Duxbury and Plymouth began compiling statistical data on cancers in dogs and cats. Their records showed an above-expected increase. A formal study began but was never completed.

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