Offshoots has been selected by the Cape Cod Commission to work on the Route 6 Stormwater and Vegetation Management Plan for the area from the Sagamore Bridge to the Orleans Rotary. Route 6, also known as the Mid-Cape Highway, was constructed over a 20-year period starting in 1950. With the exception of a few recent improvements, stormwater systems incorporated into the original design do not reflect current best management practices. In addition, the pine barren habitat that represents the unique character on Cape Cod was severely impacted by overcutting maintenance practices along the highway corridor and has resulted in an influx of invasive species and patches lacking ecological value. The plan will assess existing species and identify low-impact development strategies that address stormwater and ponding that occurs within the Route 6 right of way. Offshoots will be working alongside Horsley Witten Group for the stormwater component and Professional Environmental Services for the vegetation management portion of the plan.

The recent gypsy moth desecration seen throughout the state this year is especially visible along roadways, Route 6 included. The caterpillars are responsible for thousands of acres of defoliated trees, a result of lack of rain in the spring which normally spurs a fungus keeping the moths in check. The gypsy moth has been around since the late 1800’s, originally brought in from France for their silk, and quickly found to be nuisance. This year is especially bad, as gypsy moths often stick feasting on deciduous trees such as oaks. However, they have moved on to coniferous pine trees after eating their way through most of the deciduous forest cover. Trees are resilient to defoliation if they have time to recover in following years. However, if gypsy moths begin appearing in concurrent years, our forests will see a striking change in mortality that could be devastating to the landscape and ecology in the region.

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