Scituate Harbor Land use is 60% residential, 24% forest, and 7% open land. There are two locations for general boat access on Scituate Harbor, at a boat ramp on Jericho Road and at Town Pier on Cole Parkway. The Town of Scituate manages a concrete boat ramp with 2 launching lanes at Jericho Road for general access. The Town also operates a boat pump-out facility located at the Town Pier on Cole Parkway that includes a shore-side facility and a pump-out boat. Both were funded by the Clean Vessel Act to provide free pump-outs. Waterline Mooring has a second pump-out boat that was funded by the Clean Vessel Act to provide free pump-outs. The harbor hosts a commercial fishing fleet. When fish and fish products are loaded and unloaded from commercial fishing vessels, steps should be taken to minimize fish waste runoff directly into the harbor. Based on Mass DEP Wetland’s Conservancy Program assessment there was almost no change in the total coverage of eelgrass beds between 1998 and 2001. There has been some loss in eelgrass beds since 1951 (MA DEP, 2006).
1.3 Priority Land and Aquatic Habitats
The Gulf Watershed The Watershed is comprised of 10,483 acres of which 68% of the land is undisturbed (Forest, Wetlands, and Water), and 38% Disturbed (Commercial/Industrial/Institutional, Residential, Agriculture
Recreation and Open Land) with 767 acres of impervious surface (7.32%) (Natural Resources
Based on Town Assessor GIS databases, Scituate has a total of 445 acres and
Cohasset a total of 240 acres that are designated as Chapter 61 land (forest), Chapter 61A land (agricultural/horticultural) and 61B land (Recreational). The largest of these land tracts are held by private landowners. Currently there are no long-term assurances that they will not be developed at some time in the future. The Hatherly and Scituate Country Club golf courses, combined with the Glades Corporation compound, account for 350 acres of unprotected open space. (Town of Scituate
In general the soils in the vicinity of the Gulf river estuary represent a combination of well-drained and poorly drained soils with numerous rocky outcroppings. Because of the either too slow or too rapid soil permeability and seasonally elevated ground water levels, the soils are not especially suited for septic tank absorption fields without special planning, design, or maintenance (Natural Resources Inventory, 2003). In 2002, Sullivan did a file review of Title V certificates and found that all of the properties in Scituate within the Gulf River Watershed (GRW) have onsite sewage disposal systems. Of the 126 Title V certificates for Scituate households located within the GRW it is estimated that 74-90% of parcels in the area had systems that did not comply with Title 5 (including old cesspool systems, Sullivan, in Natural Resources Inventory, 2003).
A hindrance to improving ground water quality is the relatively thin layer of soils that overlay the bedrock in many locations. Many of these soils in the vicinity of the Gulf River estuary and elsewhere in the watershed have either very low or high permeabilities which impair the soils ability to adequately filter nutrients either because the water moves through it too quickly or because it moves so slow it collects and runs off the surface instead. (Natural Resource Inventory, 2003).
South Coastal Watershed Action Plan 9/12/2006 Watershed Action Alliance