Wareham Conservation Commission approves changes for Wickets Island restoration

Sep 20, 2018

The Buzzards Bay Coalition announced a change in plans for the restoration of Wickets Island to the Conservation Commission on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Work on the 4.6-acre island comes as a part of a multi-million dollar effort by the New Bedford-based nonprofit to transform the historic Onset Bathhouse. Plans call for building a two-story recreational and educational hub offering a myriad of programs.

Wickets Island would serve as an ecological classroom complete with a floating dock, loop trail and picnic area open to the public. 

According to Conservation Commissioner David Pichette, approved changes to the restoration plan will only affect how the project is carried out.

“The overall goal hasn’t changed,” he said.

Original plans for restoring the island called for transporting fill material to the beach via barge on the east side of the island. This material would then be transported to the future picnic area where it would then be stockpiled for use.

According to Buzzards Bay Coalition Restoration Ecologist Sara da Silva Quintal, barge companies were reluctant to approach from the island’s east side.

Material will instead be brought to the beach on the west side and then lifted by crane to the picnic area.  A skid loader will be used to distribute these materials around the island while driving on top of construction mats.

Pichette suggested the commission approve the changes despite his concerns for the crane on the beach.

“It’s not something you see everyday,” he said. “They’ll have to keep up with the tides while the crane is on the beach, but they seem very confident in what they’re doing.”

The Coalition has already removed invasive plants from the island and further restoration could begin soon. 

“The goal would be to finish by the end of October,” Quintal said.

All materials for the restoration will be loaded in New Bedford so as to not use the Onset Boat ramp, which is restricted from commercial use.

For more information on the Onset Bathhouse project, click here.