New England Cranberry Bog Restoration

New England Cranberry Bog Restoration 2017-12-01T18:14:41+00:00

Project Description

Tidmarsh Farms River & Wetland Restoration

Holistic ecological restoration of cranberry bogs to native stream and wetland ecosystems was pioneered by Inter-Fluve through the Tidmarsh Farms project. Over 20,000 feet of stream channel and 250 acres of fen and Atlantic white cedar swamp were restored, improving climate change resiliency. The project used 3,000+ pieces of large wood to improve habitat for fish and aquatic organisms, and involved removal of a 20-foot-high dam. The landowners’ Living Observatory project unites private, public and educational institutions from 10 universities to perform long-term monitoring and is partnering with Mass Audubon following their purchase of the site for a wildlife sanctuary. The project received a 2018 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Silver Award.

Microtopography was engineered into the landscape using a “pit and mound” design, encouraging diversification in flora and fauna, and making the habitat more resilient to climate change. (Photo: Mass Audubon)

Between the late 19th century and early 20th century, this 250-acre project site was purchased and cut, dredged, and divided into cranberry bogs; streams that once meandered were straightened; and an earthen dam was constructed to hold water. Photo shows cranberry bog before construction.

Following the completion of the restoration at Tidmarsh Farms, the project site was purchased by Mass Audubon as a wildlife sanctuary. (Photo: Mass Audubon)

Mass Audubon will provide trails and educational signs and possibility an educational center and will continue partnering with Living Observatory and other organizations and institutions to encourage long-term research and monitoring. (Photo: Mass Audubon)

Photo: Mass Audubon.

Nick Nelson discusses plans with contractors. (Photo: Living Observatory)

 Over 3,000 pieces of large woody debris were incorporated into the stream channel restoration. (Photo: Mass Audubon)

The project included replacing an undersized culvert and building a wildlife-friendly bridge. (Photo: Mass Audubon)

Aerial view of restored wetland. The project involved removing dams, water control structures and thousands of tons of sediment, and installing a culvert to reconnect the hydrology in the Beaver Dam Brook watershed. (Photo Eric J. Helle)

Listen to Inter-Fluve’s Nick Nelson and others discuss aquatic restoration projects (including cranberry bog restoration) on Cape Cod and how these projects will contribute to coastal resiliency and habitat diversity. The program aired on the NPR station for the Cape, Coast & Islands (WCAI).

In addition to the restoration of red maple swamp, fen and sand plains, over 20,000 Atlantic white cedar tree seeds were collected, propagated and later transplanted as part of a goal to establish only plants indigenous to southeastern Massachusetts and the Tidmarsh site itself. Photo: Mass Audubon.

The project was highlighted in the New York Times in June 2017.

Eel River Headwaters Restoration & Sawmill Dam Removals

This project involved reclamation of 40 acres of cranberry bog by recreating pre-agriculture hydrology and restoring the area to native Atlantic white cedar and sphagnum dominated swamp; restoration of over 8,000 feet of stream channel; removal of a 15-ft high stone dam; installation and fencing for 17,000 Atlantic white cedar trees; and installation of 1,000 pieces of large wood in the stream for fish habitat. Inter-Fluve received a Coastal America Award presented to the project designers and partners by the Assistant Secretary of the Interior.

Aerial view of the Eel River project. 8,000 feet of new trout stream channel was constructed.

Following construction, hundreds of Drosera rotundifolia – a carnivorous species of sundew often found in bogs – sprouted throughout the project area.

Both the Eel River and Tidmarsh Farms projects focused on transforming cranberry bogs to native Atlantic white cedar swamps.

Six months after construction was completed, the Eel River began to look–and work–like it did centuries ago. (Photo: Alex Hackman, MA Division of Ecological Restoration)

We replaced older culverts with wider ones to encourage fish, turtle, and mammal passage.

Built in the 1800s, the Sawmill Dam on Eel River powered a now-defunct sawmill.

Moments after Sawmill Dam was removed, brook trout could be seen pushing upstream.

Inter-Fluve and project partners received the National Coastal America Partnership Award for the project.