Since breaking ground in October, construction at Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Mattapoisett Bogs wetland restoration site has made considerable progress. Approximately 55 acres of previously farmed cranberry bogs are being transformed back to wildlife-friendly, natural, and functioning freshwater wetlands and grassland habitat, allowing the land to better absorb and filter water moving into the groundwater aquifer, the Mattapoisett River, and the harbor and Bay downstream.
When these cranberry bogs were originally created in the 1930s, the wetland surface was flattened and covered with a thick layer of sand to promote conditions suitable for growing cranberries. An extensive network of culverts, pipes and pumps were needed to move water from one bog cell to the next at various times throughout the year. Farming continued until the bogs were retired and sold to the Buzzards Bay Coalition.
A fleet of excavators are now removing a one-foot-thick layer of sand from the buried wetland surface and using that material to fill ditches in the bog cells. This not only brings the surface of the soil (and roots of water-loving wetland plants) closer to underlying groundwater, but also eliminates steep slopes that are harder for wildlife to travel across.
Large portions of the artificial dikes are being removed to re-connect wetland areas and allow water to flow more naturally through the site. Pond features are also being created in the restored wetlands.
Early next year, a dilapidated triple-pipe culvert diverting water from nearby Tripps Mill Brook to the Bogs will also be removed. This culvert will be replaced with a more natural stream channel feature designed to send storm flows into the restored bogs, but will also restore the natural stream bed at the junction with the brook, benefitting both fish and wildlife.
Visitors to the fully restored site will be greeted by exciting improvements to the trail system at the Buzzards Bay Coalition reserve. Several bridges and boardwalks will be installed to enhance the visitor experience, and the main parking area will be expanded to accommodate more of our community members.
Trails at the site are currently closed while restoration work continues over the winter into the spring. During construction, visitors are encouraged to explore several other trails in the area, including the New Boston Trail, Tinkhamtown Woodlands, and soon an expanded trail network at the recently protected Red Brook Farm.
The Coalition acquired the Mattapoisett Bogs site from Decas Cranberry Company following their agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) to permanently retire the cranberry bogs and to restore natural wetlands on the property. This ecological restoration project was designed in conjunction with GZA Engineering and partners at the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration (MA DER) and USDA-NRCS. Construction is by Luciano’s Excavation, Inc. of Taunton, MA.
Funding for the restoration project has been made possible by the USDA-NRCS, MA Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), MA Department of Conservation & Recreation’s Recreational Trails Program, and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.
The restored site with its improved trail systems will re-open in late-2024.