Improving the Health of the Chebacco Lake Watershed and Alewife Brook

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Seaside Sustainability Convenes Stakeholders to Address Watershed Wildlife and Water Quality

GLOUCESTER, MA-January 19, 2021- Seaside Sustainability, a nonprofit based in Gloucester, MA with a mission to protect coastal waters through education and action, has convened an array of stakeholders to begin improvement efforts of Chebacco Lake. The Chebacco Lake watershed is an area in Essex County, MA, that is home to five ponds and Chebacco Lake. Chebacco Lake is a 209-acre body of water that is classified as a Class B water resource by the state of Massachusetts, signifying that it is a designated habitat for the protection of aquatic life. It is fed by eight small brooks and its primary outlet is Alewife Brook.

The watershed lies within parts of five towns: Essex, Hamilton, Wenham, Manchester and Beverly. Since Chebacco Lake is an important home for aquatic life and supplies drinking water for several towns; protecting the water quality is of primary importance. “The Chebacco lake watershed is a critical resource for five towns,” said Alan McCoy, Chairperson of Seaside Sustainability’s board, “and our combined stewardship is key to maintaining and improving its health.”

Beginning in the spring of 2021, this group will begin efforts to improve the overall health of the Chebacco Lake watershed and Alewife Brook. The first issue to be addressed will be improving the water flow of Alewife Brook by reducing plant growth that has clogged parts of the brook's channel. Alewife Brook is a vital path for river herring that leads to Essex Bay and the North Atlantic Ocean. Passage through the brook has become increasingly more challenging as a result of low water levels, increased siltation, vegetation growing in the channel, and the p