- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
- Department of Fish and Game
- Division of Ecological Restoration
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $50,000 for Commonwealth’s Largest Freshwater Wetlands Restoration Project
Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) has awarded $50,000 to Tidmarsh Farms, Inc. to complete the restoration of 250 acres of coastal freshwater wetlands in Plymouth.
“The Tidmarsh Farms restoration project will have tremendous value to the wildlife in the region and offer many recreational opportunities for people who enjoy the outdoors,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This project is a model for how to transform retired cranberry bogs into self-sustaining natural wetlands, using land conservation and ecological restoration.”
“This project, the largest freshwater wetland restoration project to date in Massachusetts, involves an impressive partnership of a private company, environmental nonprofits, and federal, state and local government,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The ongoing restoration has already begun to transform the property into a more natural wetland system, and we are happy that this grant will allow the project to be completed in the near future.”
This project will restore approximately 3.5 miles of stream and 250 acres of wetland in the Beaver Dam Brook watershed, and involves six dam removals and the addition of 3,000 large wood pieces and thousands of plants. The project includes land protection and on-going monitoring elements organized by the nonprofit Living Observatory.
“When fully restored to health, these 250 acres of coastal freshwater wetlands will help to boost recreation and tourism, improve water quality, increase resilience to climate change and improve habitat for wildlife,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “We are pleased to support this project and commend the owners of Tidmarsh Farms for their commitment to habitat restoration, land conservation and public outreach.”
The project has been under construction since October 2015 with $1.9 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and $790,000 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Mass Audubon and the Town of Plymouth recently received a $1,000,000 Landscape Partnership Grant from EEA to help protect 608 acres of Tidmarsh Farm, which includes the restoration area and surrounding lands.
“We could not be happier with the initial results of this large wetland restoration project,” said Department of Fish and Game Commissioner George Peterson. “This project is a showcase for how science-based wetland restoration enhances habitat for a wide variety of fish, plants, and wildlife.”
Completion of the project will allow this area to serve its natural function as a flood plain while ensuring free passage of water and wildlife from the headwaters of Beaver Dam Brook to the sea. The site is well situated to transition to salt marsh over the decades as sea level rises.
“Restoring and protecting the coastal wetlands of Massachusetts is incredibly important to safeguarding the well-being of our environment,” said State Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). “I am proud that the fantastic preservation work being done at Tidmarsh Farms will be able to continue with the help of this grant from the Baker-Polito Administration.”
“I am continually impressed by the work done at Tidmarsh Farms to improve wetlands in Manomet,” said State Representative Matthew Muratore (R-Plymouth). “With this grant from the Department of Fish & Game, Tidmarsh Farms will be able to complete the total restoration and increase the amount of conservation land in Plymouth.”
“I would like to thank the Department of Fish and Game for awarding Tidmarsh Farms this grant,” said Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich). “Conservation is incredibly important for the ecological vitality of the South Coast region, and I am pleased that Tidmarsh is leading the charge to complete restoring 250 acres of coastal freshwater wetlands in Plymouth.”
DER has provided project management for the Tidmarsh Farms project since 2010. Partners include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Town of Plymouth, Tidmarsh Farms, Inc., the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Mass Bays Project, American Rivers, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET), Mass Audubon, and others. The project engineer is Inter-Fluve, Inc. (Cambridge, MA), and the construction contractor is SumCo Eco-Contracting (Salem, MA). Construction is expected to be complete in fall 2016, with several years of follow-up planting sourced from a native plant nursery established onsite as part of the project.
“The transformation of this landscape has been dramatic, and the restoration offers a compelling story of strategic human actions resulting in nature’s return at a landscape scale,” said Bob Wilber, Director of Land Conservation at Mass Audubon. “We are working hard to raise the funds necessary to make the shared vision of a new Wildlife Sanctuary a reality on this amazing site.”
“We are extremely grateful for the guidance and support provided by DER over many years, along with our many other partners,” said Glorianna Davenport, Trustee of Tidmarsh Farms and Founder of Living Observatory. “The restoration project offers a field station for inquiry and learning, and Living Observatory is committed to developing the science, interpretation and experience of environmental change for experts and the public."
The mission of the Division of Ecological Restoration is to restore and protect the Commonwealth’s rivers, wetlands and watersheds for the benefit of people and the environment. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth’s natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.