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Our Projects > Survey of the York River

June, 2000



About 90 citizens, including schoolchildren, participated in the river survey.

Much of the river was in very good condition.


The river has value as a commercial resource, too. 

Approximately 90 local citizens, including anglers, schoolchildren, educators, town officials and business people, turned out to survey the York River in June 2000, using a simple visual assessment methodology developed by the Massachusetts Adopt-A-Stream program, similar to the EPA's Stream Walk method.

This report summarizes and categorizes their observations. The detailed data could also be input into the Town of York's GIS system to augment natural resource information available through state and federal agencies.

This report has several components:

    1. Narrative of the River
    2. Segment-by-Segment Observances
    3. Summaries: Assets & Potential Problems
Overall, the surveyors found the river to be in relatively good condition; they described segments of the river as "pristine," encouraged land protection efforts and river access in several areas, and provided lists of abundant wildlife, birds, and fishes found in their segments.

The river is not without its problems, however; the surveyors listed concerns with threats of development, erosion, water quality and pipes, invasive plants, and abutting landowner practices including yard care and dumping. The surveyors also found several abandoned dams and culverts that may restrict tidal flow and/or passage of anadromous fishes such as alewives and smelt.

This report summarizes the survey findings, but does not attempt to make specific recommendations about what to do in each case. The on-going work of the York Rivers Association has already begun the process of investigating more detailed studies of some of these subjects, making recommendations, and subsequently working to restore or protect the river. In the future, the York Rivers Association, state and town officials, community non-profits, and others may wish to refer to this report as a starting point for such action.

Yard waste may harm the river.
Erosion was listed as a problem 
by several participants.

1. Narrative of the York River

York #1 - Upstream of Cooks Bridge

The segment of river above Cooks Bridge is shallow, narrow and winds through a salt marsh bordered by pine woods. At Birch Hill Road a new barn is visible from the river but from that point to a farmyard a mile down Frost Hill Road there is nothing to see but beautiful marsh grasses, some wildflowers (asters and goldenrod) and the distant woods. The water is the color of strong tea and there is no odor. The banks are mud and clay. There were ditches which indicated that perhaps the marsh had been harvested for salt hay some time ago. The erosion along the banks seems to be a natural result of the river's tidal flow and because of that the trees closest to the edge have fallen across the river. Although this obstructed our way and thus impeded our destination to the bridge on Frost Hill Road, it provided us with a perfect place to picnic and made a good turning point. Closer to Birch Hill Rd. on the north side of the river is a large field which looks very green and perhaps could be under the influence of fertilizer (don't know) and along its edge were apple trees, some oaks, and a witch hazel. We also saw bayberry, and blueberries further upstream. We embarked an hour before the high tide and cam back at full tide. We estimated the height of the tide to be about 3-4 feet. The banks do overhang the stream and we noted what looked to be animal holes in some of the banks. The culverts at Cooks Bridge (two) were each about 5 feet wide. They created a scour pool on the upstream side with the incoming tide. We did not have much in the way of birding -- only a redwing blackbird, a goldfinch, sparrow and a black duck. The marsh is very beautiful in this area and is protected by the very fact that it is a marsh and is wet. Access is difficult as one has to cross a steep muddy bank and we were not certain that it is allowed.
-- Carol Donnelly and Lynn Eaton

York #2 - Cooks Bridge to Smelt Brook Confluence

Our survey trip on the York River began at the York River fork and extended up to Cooks Bridge. Because it was our first trip and there were many twists in the river, I don't feel confident in the exact locations I photographed. Our segment seemed quite pristine, but with evidence of erosion prevalent along the south side of the river. There also appeared to be three shack/duck blinds along the marsh also on the left side. We saw very little evidence of trash other than what appeared to be an old Christmas tree that had floated onto the marsh grass. The water was brownish in color, but odorless. Two hours past high tide, the river was more than three feet deep, but I have no idea of the actual depth.

Two ditches were noted in the Cooks Bridge area. One was quite long, about a foot wide and seemingly man-made. It appeared to cross the whole marsh on the north side. Another ditch was noted near Rogers Brook. It was considerably smaller in width. Wildlife such as cormorants and great blue herons was active and visible in the part of the segment nearer to Cooks Bridge. We observed cormorants catching fish, but saw no activity of other birds, further downstream.

It was a wonderful experience slowing down and observing our surroundings. We have a real treasure in York, and I only wish that all of York's citizens could adventure, by dinghy, through the marshes. Thank you for affording us this wonderful opportunity.

- Fred and Debbie Oberg

York #3 - Cutts Ridge Brook Confluence to Scotland Bridge

There was muddy water for the full length of this segment -- possibly the outcome of so much rain previously. Untouched, virgin land on both sides of channel. Quiet. Fences on one part of marsh (indicated on map) may have been pasture in the past? Rope swing on bank. Three or four pieces of trash -- possible remains from tide.

- Linda Gurtman, K. Chase

York #4 - Scotland Bridge to Rice's Bridge (North Shore)
This is an 8000 foot section of the York River beginning on the east side of the river at Scotland Bridge and ending at the I-95 Bridge. This section of the river encompasses much of the westerly drainage shed of Boulter Pond, Middle Pond and Scituate Pond. There are small streams and drainage swales leading from each of these water sources to the York River.

In terms of development, this segment of river can be classified as moderate to light residential use with most of the development concentrated in the upper portion of the segment. Lots sizes vary substantially as do setbacks from the water's edge. Some developable land remains along the river and along the principal road corridor, Cider Hill Road (Rt. 91). All of the connecting road systems and adjacent residential development drain into the river by one means or another. Nonresidential activity is limited primarily to "home occupations" but does include at least one substantial enterprise on Ferry Lane North. This activity, which involves the dumping and staging of heavy construction materials and equipment is not visible from the main river but can be seen from Cider Hill Creek as this large tidal finger nears Rt. 91.

The survey was conducted by kayak on Saturday June 10, 2000, between the hours of 9 am and 11:30 am. High tide at the river's mouth was 6:44 am. Low water conditions inhibited the examination of Bass Cove and Cider Hill Creek. It is recommended that Cider Hill Creek be reviewed at some future date as having fish spawning potential.

-- Barrie Munro

York #5 - Scotland Bridge to Dolly Gordon Brook (South Shore)

This segment extends from Scotland Bridge downstream to Dolly Gordon Brook (just before I-95). The first half of this segment has a lot of clearing and is lined with houses set back from the river. Most of these houses have extensive lawns that are separated from the salt marsh lining the river by shrubby borders. Salt marsh lines the river and its tributaries.

We are not sure whether Scotland Bridge creates a scour pool - the bridges does constrict the river and there is quite an enlarged area or pool downstream of it. The most extreme example of erosion was observed along the bank on the northern, downstream side of that pool (#6 on map). Here, at mid-tide, there was no observable salt marsh border between the river and the forested embankment and the bank was so eroded away that the tree roots hung down in curtains. We did not know whether the bridge caused this erosion. Some of the salt marsh bordering the river showed some erosion, or undercutting, by the currents, but this seemed natural.

At location #8 there were some artificially placed stones (rip-rap) along the north bank of the river -- above which was a house. A cement cylindrical structure sat above the stones; between the cement structure and the stones there was a 4-inch diameter PVC pipe sticking out of the hill. There was no obvious discharge from the pipe at the time of the survey. There was also what could have been an artificial ditch (#10) just upstream of this area, but it was overgrown with shrubs and had no obvious discharge.

There were many floating docks extending from the homes along this part of the river. Along the banks of the salt marsh adjacent to these docks we noticed a significant amount of rockweed that was not noticeable along other parts of the river. We don't know whether this is related to the presence of the docks -- perhaps they shelter the bank enough in those areas to allow increased proliferation of these seaweeds? We did not see this at every dock.

On the south side, location #2, we found what could be a human-made ditch cut through the salt marsh to the river. We could not see over the bank to the house above, so don't know its origin. The only phragmites we observed along this section of the river was located above this ditch.

Approximately halfway along our route an unnamed brook forks from the river (see #7 on map). There is very little clearing along this next segment of the river, with few houses. This section is bounded by salt marsh and forested upland; we could identify oak, white pine, other deciduous trees and high bush blueberries. The river was busy with bird life -- herring gulls sitting in the water near the mouths of the tributaries, a kingfisher poised to dive on a dock, cormorants and great blue heron flew away at our approach. Red wing blackbirds were busy along the edges and yellow warblers called from the adjoining forests. Killdeer and a spotted sandpiper searched the mudflats for food.

It was a beautiful day. The river and its edges seemed relatively clean and trash free -- let's hope it stays that way, or gets even better, in the years to come.

-- Sue Pike, Andy Gagnon, Hunter Gagnon, Sam Pike

York #6 - Ramshead Point to Rte. 103 Bridge

Surveyed by York High School class; no description provided.

York #7 - Ramshead Point to Rte. 103 Bridge

Segment 7 begins at the community dock of the Brickyard subdivision, a thickly settled residential neighborhood, built on the open (unforested) site once occupied by a brick manufactory. Immediately down river, the York Golf & Tennis Club presents a buffer of pines which gives way, so the River turns eastward to manicured grass. Algae clings to the extent of this frontage. Beyond Sewall's Bridge, Lindsay Road skirts the shore before turning inland. A stretch of houses, fairly well spaced, abuts the Steedman Woods, heavily used conservation land linked by pedestrian bridge and causeway to parking along Route 103.

-- Kinley Gregg

York #8 - Barrell's Millpond

The water was mostly clean, but I suspect it gets very silty after a rainstorm. Lots of silt on the bottom. Lots of shells. Some minor areas of shore erosion, but overall in great shape. No trash.

-- Steve and Cassie Burns

York #9 - South Shore, Route 1 Bridge to Sewalls Bridge

Interesting sights included a duck blind and wildlife including herons and kingfishers. We saw two 18" pipes, neither of which had a discharge. These might be road culverts? Just Upstream from Ramshead Point, wire cattle fences go into the river. Several small creeks downstream of Ramshead Point were very murky and showed signs of erosion. Near the tip of Ramshead Point we found some potential phragmites.

-- Gordon and Ellie Moran, Cordie Southall, Larry Reilly

York #9A - South Shore from 95 to Ramshead Point, then North Shore to beginning of Golf Course

No written description in addition to data sheets.

-- Tinker Newick, Dave Gittens, Carol Donnelly

York #9B - South Shore - Ramshead Rock to Bragdon Island-

This section of the river bank extends approximately 3/4 mile upstream and is generally well-maintained by lobster or fishermen's private docks and residential private docks or grounds. There is some bank erosion (see X on map) due to tidal currents, but not any apparent serious degree of damage.

--Doug and Maggi Cullum

York #10A - South Shore - Sewall's Bridge to Rt. 103

With the exception of a few places where slash and yard waste have been piled on the river bank, the river looks good here. All of Bragdon Island (Pine Island and Big Pine Island) have a wooded character which has not been disturbed much by building. The western edge of the tidal flat and marsh area is wooded or has meadows with a natural edge preserved except for #4A, B, C, D which has been recently cleared. Hopefully this will be allowed to grow back naturally and will not be converted to lawn. Out toward more open vistas of river. There is more evidence of lawns coming directly down to river edge (Photos 15, 16, 17) with natural edge vegetation largely removed. The marshes are beautiful, no loosestrife or phragmites. Some variation in marsh grass types: a thick, healthy taller grass with large patches of thinner sparser grass. Would like to know if this thinner grass type is good or a sign of trouble?

-- Stuart and Ellen Dawson

York #10B - South Shore Rt. 103 to opposite Stage Neck

The river was clean as expected, mixed bottom: sand, gravel, mud, rock. Wonderfully clean water. We observe this segment daily and see a wonderful variety of wildlife especially migration. The high tides seem more intense lately. The dredged area -- now which wildlife area fills at certain high tides.

-- Rob, Rice, and Ann Kendall

York #11 - Rte. 103 Bridge to Stage Neck

To make observation easier I split up the observations in two parts. One part is from the tip of Stage Neck to the Stage Neck dock. The second part goes from the Stage Neck dock to the 103 bridge.

Part 1 - This area is the mouth of the river and is very rocky. The water has a strong current in the channel, which can make it hard for small boats to go through. The general water quality is excellent, the water is clear for up to about 8 feet and the only odor that one can ever smell is the fresh smell of the ocean. The rocks along the coast of the Stage Beck Inn look like they were placed by man and no pipes could be seen jutting out. The sea floor in this area is all rock and sand and is visible at low tide. The water problems are the occasion gasoline on the water or foam that has feel from the bottom of a rock. All and all this area is quiet clean and seems to be doing quite well. Fish species: flounder, striped bass and bluefish.

Part 2 - This area of the river is much denser and has more boats because it's the harbor. Along this harbor there are many docks which cause gasoline spills and occasionally through in other trash. Also right near the Stage Neck dock is a dam that allows fish to go through but it is in very poor condition. If this dam were to fall down it could possibly cause erosion. Up until the river paths there are five docks that allow boats to be put into the water. There is also one major boat entrance at the bottom of Varrel Lane. Along the river path there are 8 pipes spread out into about 30 foot intervals. The pipes are all made of iron and yes they do have algae growing on them. The pipes in my opinion carry runoff water from the street, which is very harmful to the water. Luckily there are no odors or extra vegetation. At the 103 bridge there is a big scour pool which is well built up because a stone wall prevents erosion. Same species. One more not is that almost this whole area is surrounded with man made structures.

-- Charles and Henry Harding

York #11 - Rte. 103 Bridge to Stage Neck

Segment 11 begins at the Route 103 bridge and flows seaward past large Victorian cottages which overlook a harbor yet retaining remnants of colonial wharves. These cottages sit atop a vegetated embankment. A popular pedestrian walk, occasionally inundated at high tide, fronts the river. Under this walk lies a sewer line. Abandoned private sewage pipes traverse the mudflats, ending at or below the low waterline. The embankment gives way to wharves used as residences and as dockage, thence to a 19th century stone dam. The far end of the dam abuts the Stage Neck, a rocky peninsula covered with condominiums and a hotel which surveys both the open ocean and the Harbor Beach.

-- Kinley Gregg

Tributary Segment #0 - Unnamed, upstream of Smelt Brook

Our segment was absolutely pristine. There were no blockages, manmade or natural along the piece. Tributary flows or squiggles through lovely grasses. The woodland edge is probably 50-75 feet, one shore to the other. Woodland is predominately oak (white and red), hemlock and shrubs.

-- Westy Lovejoy and Carol Donnelly

Tributary Segment #2 - Smelt Brook

Section 1 runs from the fork in the York River (a) to where it ceases to be navigable at low tide (j). It is primarily banked with clay/mud and marsh grass except where woodland comes down to the river (b, c, d, f, g, h, i). In every case of wooded riverbank, large trees appear to be ready to fall across the river due to erosion. The overhanging trees have even been used to erect a rope swing (g) for swimming. The entire section is remarkably pristine and rich in wildlife -- we could only two irregularities. The first was a rocky outcropping (submerged at high tide -- location e on the map) and an area where the trees leading away from the riverbank had been cut away (c) possibly to create a view for a home set back from the river. On a final note, submerged timber is a constant navigation hazard at low tide.

Section 2 runs from the place where the river's representation on the map changes from a channel (marked by parallel lines) to a single line (j). At low tide, this place is easy to recognize due to a 50-foot long swath of rocks and pebbles on the river bottom, which create a tumbling rapids -- not navigable by canoe or kayak. Once above these rapids, the brook continues looking much as it did before, only there are fewer places with wooded riverbanks. There is one place (k) where a house's lawn actually comes down to the river and down river from that spot the river briefly winds close to farmland. Cormorants, geese, and turtles are numerous in the marsh areas of this section. There are many pallets, buoys and empty plastic antifreeze bottles that appear to have floated onto the marsh from downstream. At low tide, the clay and mud riverbank is frequently characterized by oily residue. Section 3 runs from a place we chose due to a narrowing of the brook as well as the increased presence of pollution to the terminus of the brook at Route 91. Oil is not only evident on the riverbank, but in the river itself. It appears to be from the culvert at Route 91 but the oil is also present in the tiny runoffs, which enter the brook every 50 to 100 feet. The wooded riverbank at location (l) was littered with golf balls driven across the marsh from the homes (m) located there. Many local residents have set up bird nesting boxes on stilts, which appear to be popular with red-winged blackbirds. The most disturbing site was at location (n). Along a 100 yard stretch of river were tires and other garbage dumped from a property with a paved road to the riverside. As these tires are deep in mud, extraction would be most difficult. The section ends at a culvert where the brook passes under Route 91. The bank and river bottom changes to sand and gravel which is partially why this is such a popular spot for netting fish at different times of the year.

-- G. Cameron Mereen and Julia S. Clough

Tributary Segment #3 - Bass Cove Creek

Bass Cove Creek goes under Route 91 (culvert) from Bass Cove and basically uphill slightly (maybe 1 mile) to Dam and Boulter Ponds. Can't follow all this as it is woodsy, etc. Water is very clean, clear, shallow running over rocks with brush and trees on the sides. We can then give description from Boulter Pond, which we did not walk around and cannot canoe in, as it is Kittery Water pool. Boulter Pond is surrounded by trees, brush and woods. Relatively clean water, light brown color, no odor, saw one large turtle. There is a dam from Boulter Pond to stream, which allows steady but light flow into rocky stream -- shallow -- goes about 50 yards to cement bottom which runs under dirt road through culverts -- cement bottom goes about 10 feet on either side of road. Stream continues 50 yards more, about 10 feet wide to cement blocked rip-rap with stone sides held flat with chicken wire. Water appears at this time to flow under these blocks about 200 yards and reemerges as small stream with rocks and grass. This continues on to Route 91 and culvert into Bass Cove. All water we could see is clear and clean. The Kittery Water District treatment plan is at end of New Boston Road and just beyond Boulter Pond. They keep an eye on stream cleanliness, etc. We were unable to walk whole way. Above area is on New Boston Road at end. At Route 91 - culvert into medium running water into pond water slightly down hill. Culvert is about 5 feet high -- 4 feet wide -- cement -- good condition. pond manmade with seawall 2 feet high rock dam going across cove. pond about 50 x25'. From Route 91 (road) to water, steep brushy hill and not a good access to water as indicated on map. All of Bass Cove (just about) is surrounded by marsh grass banks to trees which surround cove. There are a couple of areas marked on map with clay or mud banks and slight erosion due to, I think, large shade trees above and absence of marsh grass. Behind all trees are mostly fields leading to scattered homes. At low tide there is only a trickle of water from the river through Bass Cove. Right point at end of Cove facing river is a very nice treed area with little brush and no buildings (likely not buildable). On left side of outer corner is also a large treed area -- about 20 acres going all the way to Cider Hill Road (Route 91). Both of these areas would be interesting for conservation easements. Water for full length of cove is clean and odorless, but somewhat muddy due to clay type bottom, can see down 2-4 feet and is fully tidal. Cove is navigable by small boat for full length at least from and to half tide but drains out completely at low tide with muddy clay bottom. No fish observed but believe Bass do come into cove.

-- Jeanne and King Berlew

Tributary Segment #4 - Dolly Gordon Brook

Starting from the southwesterly end of the Route 1 Bridge, we followed the southerly bank of the York River to the confluence of Dolly Gordon Brook. Not noted on the map is a short (25-30 yard) streem course just southeast of 95 embankment, which appears to provide drainage for runoff through the forest above, possibly formed b road runoff from I-95.

The mouth of Dolly Gordon Brook has a salt marsh floodplain on either side extendeing as much as 50 yards to a mixed hardwood treeline. A house is being constructed on the south westerly point of the mouth, but a tree buffer of 20 yards or so remains. The easterly floodplain diminishes rapidly to a raised bank with a mixed hardwood treeline. Several boat ramps have been constructed for access. The floodplain on the southwesterly side diminishes at the bridge. Both sides of the floodplain pen up after the bridge, becoming 200-300 yards wide in the vicinity of the old railway. Dolly Gordon Brook branches south east in a floodplain/saltmarsh approximately 75 yards wide. Libby Brook branches southwest in an even wider floodplain., A small island, approximately 25 yards across, occurs in the mids of the stream course at the railway crossing. Though few animals were observed, this area has a history of supporting most species indigenous to the York River estuary system.

-- Jud Knox, Richard Myrick, Steve Palmer

Tributary Segment #4A - Dolly Gordon Brook (East Shore)

Observations were made from the bank. There has been some loss of trees and brush in this area. There are residences in this section. The photo, which shows some tree roots bared by erosion, was taken looking from #8 Kimball Farm Lane toward the York River, at high tide. At low tide, there is only a narrow ribbon of water in the channel. The Neighbors on the far side of the fallen tree put boats in from their property. There is a grassy section between #8 and #6 which may be salt marsh hay, but it doesn't grow very tall. It is mostly submerged at high tide. Recently I saw deer tracks. We have seen moose along the creek, but not for the past 1 1/2 years.

-- Rebecca Bradley

Tributary Segment #5 - Cider Hill Creek

Segment begins at bridge on Cider Hill Road near Winn's Auto Body. This is an untouched area of salt marsh and upland mixed forest that is part of a roughly 5 square mile unfragmented block of land. A dump site was found in one section behind a residence along creek. Tires, barrels, paint cans, etc. were found here. The rest of the creek is quite pristine, some erosion but appears to be quite health and vibrant all the way to Bog Road.

Saturday, June 10 at 10:00 a.m. Doreen MacGillis and Helen Winebaum walked a long section of Cider Hill Creek north of the Cider Hill Road bridge. The walk was part of the river survey for Rivers and Trails and the York Rivers Association. The day was clear, sunny, with moderate temperature. Mid-tide - going out. We started the walk after having asked the occupant of the house on the northeast side of the Cider Hill Bridge for permission and easiest access as the bank is steep going down to the marsh grasses and the creek. A young lady pointed out the way, which was not a path but a place where brush had been dumped. We descended to the flat and proceeded upstream. There did not seem to be an enlargement of the streambed caused by the flow of the creek through the bridge. The bridge does not seem to be an impediment to flow. We were walking on the eastern edge of Cider Hill Creek. We walked on the bank in the marsh grass. Shortly after descending to the bank we saw some dumped material on the wooded slope. This included several barrels and tires. We did not feel that this was more than a farm refuse dump. There is a broad field above the wooded bank. There is also a tote road that we did not follow on this east wooded bank of the creek. The tote road runs north between creek and the field on the upper wooded bank. After small area of dump material, we did not encounter any refuse of any kind. We saw several different kinds of marsh grass. All looked exceedingly healthy. No signs of silt. Tide wrack extended far in some places, showing the wide tidal variation. We saw several river otter or muskrat holes in the bank. We often saw small schools of fish in the generally clear water. We felt that the extent of marsh that we saw was pristine, completely protected by the deeply forested upland. No houses or sign of use of any kind. As we proceeded north, the forested upland of the creek became deeper and in some areas quite steep and with a mature forest. We decided to take the east fork of the creek and crossed over it to be able to walk more easily in the woods on bank. We noticed many trees marked, probably for cutting. We followed the creek until the feeder stream became fresh and we headed into the woods for Bog Road, coming out onto an enormous farm field. We then returned on Bog Road.

-- Doreen MacGillis and Helen Winebaum

Tributary Segment #6 - Cider Hill Creek

Both sides of the confluence with the York River are flood plain with marsh grasses extending as much as 50 yards + to a mixed hardwood treeline. Approximately 5000 yards in the easterly bank rises with house lots of 1 acre plus lawns sloping to a treeline varying in depth from single row to 100 yards deep or more. The westerly bank in this section remains fairly flat, with the treeline getting closer to the stream edge as the course extends northerly. Approximately 1/2 way to the bridge, one landowner has built a small dock on the easterly side of the stream. From this point on the floodplain becomes increasingly more restricted, ending at the abutments to the bridge at Rt. 91. The stream becomes much more freshwater in character on the northerly side of the bridge and the treeline becomes very close to the stream edge. A pipe outfall, yard waste, etc. are noted on the map.

-- Jud Knox, Richard Myrick, Steve Palmer

Tributary Segment #7 - Southside Brook

8 miles segment follows roadway. Non-eroded banks with maples, oaks, etc. 90% deciduous, 10% pine -- tall under story, honeysuckle, Rosa regosa, ferns -- seems non-moving. Brave Boat Harbor Road segment is sunny, swampy, thicket-like with dead thriving deciduous shrubs and trees. Width of 70 feet, very slow movement. Mid section -- sun and shade; less dense but still man live and dead trees and 1 _ feet grasses -- width 40'. Seabury Road segment -- river narrows to 8 feet, becoming rapid and clear of vegetation.

-- Anne Bryer and Rob Kanzer

Tributary Segment #8 - Rogers Brook

Segment 1 was what we could observe from road going over brook on Birch Hill Road. We spoke to Richard Gove, 130 Birch Hill Road, an abutter, who told us most of the information reported here. The stretch from the road to the river mainstem is brackish. There is a broken dam above which is fresh water. He had fixed the dam with the Town's blessing, but vandals (kids) have destroyed it. He thinks the dam should be fixed so that the resulting pond could be used as a water source in case of fire. The stream dries up in summer. He told us this area is home to moose, deer, coyote, fox, turkeys, and gulls. There is an alewife run. The area is surrounded by rural homes and farms. Could not walk because of poison ivy -- lots of vegetation. Surrounding little opportunity for public recreation. would be nice to be labeled/identified. We observed iris, lots of poison ivy, cattails.

Segment 2 - road over brook at Beech Ridge. Iris, some marsh grass. Little water, lots of opportunity for trash to be thrown from passing cars. Rural.

-- Carol and Milt Davis

Cape Neddick River

The Cape Neddick River rises in Chases Pond from whence it meanders more or less easterly until it joins the ocean between Weare Point and Cape Neddick.

The tidal portion of the river runs north from the falls just below Route 1 for 1/8 of a mile and thence easterly for 1/2 mile emptying into Cape Neddick Harbor.

The bottom is a mixture of sand and mud with some areas of such consistency that its suction can demolish sandal straps. History in the form of long-abandoned schooners, gristmills and wharves are in evidence. The water varies from 1/8 mile wide and 10' depth at high tide to a knee-high rivulet but 20' across at low.

The first half mile to the Clark Road bridge I arbitrarily divide into three parts: Shore Road to the RR trestle; thence to the neck and from the neck to the Clark Road Bridge.

Shore Road to RR Trestle:
Running from the harbor under the Shore Road bridge/dam the river is funneled to 90'. To the north is some 300 yards of wetlands about to River Rd. The south shore is built up but arms of the marsh reach inland about an equal distance. Note that the Cape Neddick River has no public access and boat launching is done from the property of the restaurant immediately south of the bridge.

RR Trestle to the Neck:
The river narrows at the neck, the site of an old gristmill, from 300' to 80'. Evidence of piers is obvious on the north bank. Both sides of the river are built up.

Neck to the Clark Rd. Bridge:
The river opens after the neck to hear 1/16 mile. About 100 yard downstream of the bridge on the north bank there is a corrugated metal culvert about 18' round. There is no evidence to the untrained eye of scouring and the discharge appears to be rain runoff.

The Clark St. Bridge funnels the river to 20'. About 100 yards upstream is a cement spillway that ushers a brook under River Rd. No scouring evident to the untrained eye.

After 100 more yards, the river turns sharply to the west for 1/8 mile where it runs into falls. This ends the salt-water portion.

Fish: I have caught striped bass, pollock, and mackerel in the river usually two hours before high tide. Brown trout are reputed to be in the river. This year we had a substantial herring run, followed by more numerous runs of what I think were tomcod. The fish were fry size. Because of the tidal situation we do not have what I consider to be a permanent fish population.

-- Larry Reilly
Continue to Segment-by-Segment Observances

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