The Bogs is a natural oasis of forests, streams, and wetlands in the heart of the Mattapoisett River Valley. The property lies adjacent to a public drinking water well that provides clean water to thousands of local residents in Fairhaven and Mattapoisett. Protecting this land was part of the Coalition’s ongoing work to conserve the lands that protect clean drinking water in the Mattapoisett River Valley.
The Coalition acquired The Bogs in 2011 from the Decas Cranberry Company, which grew and harvested cranberries on the property’s 50-plus acres of bogs. To grow cranberries here in the past, water had to be diverted to the bogs from Tripps Mill Brook, a tributary of the Mattapoisett River that flows along the property’s northern edge. Old, unused infrastructure including an irrigation canal, pumps and water control structures, and a reservoir are still visible at The Bogs today.
When the Coalition acquired the property, we took on Decas’ commitment to retire these cranberry bogs from commercial production and restore the property’s streams and wetlands through an agreement with the USDA’s Wetlands Reserve Program. The planned Bogs restoration will repair the property’s streams and wetlands and return a more natural water flow to Tripps Mill Brook. These changes will improve habitat for fish and wildlife, including species like box turtles, American eels, pollinators, and a variety of birds.
This winter, The Bogs was designated a priority project by the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration. This designation will help fund the engineering needed to find the best solution to restore the property’s streams and wetlands. A separate $1.6 million USDA grant will cover the restoration costs.
An additional $50,000 state grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust will fund engineering and well installation to monitor how water levels change there over the course of the year, which will help inform the detailed restoration design.
Since the Coalition took ownership of the property, we opened up The Bogs to public access. It has become one of our most popular conservation areas and is now part of a network of more than 5 miles of trails through the Mattapoisett River Reserve. The restored property will still allow people to use The Bogs for outdoor activities like walking, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting. An $88,000 state Recreational Trails Program grant will fund improvements to The Bogs’ trails in coordination with the restoration – features like pedestrian bridges, a boardwalk, bog boards, and signage to provide better linkages throughout the reserve’s multi-town trail network.
The Coalition is beginning to work with engineers to develop conceptual designs and drawings for the restoration this spring.