Like the Bay Area’s salt ponds, cranberry farming originally involved creating an artificial environment from a natural wetland through the installation of dams and weirs. The cranberries—a plant native to North America that naturally grows as a vine—were then trained to grow in mats on the water’s surface. A project on Tidmarsh Farms in Plymouth, Massachusetts included redirecting a natural stream that had been diverted into an agricultural canal back into its original channel and planting 6,000 Atlantic white cedars to “jumpstart” the native wetland restoration. The farm is approximately 10 feet above sea level, says Alex Hackman, Restoration Specialist with the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game, so the tides aren’t yet connecting with the new wetlands. But as sea level rises, that could change. In the meantime, native fish like alewives—a river herring—and eels are already returning to the stream. Hackman says there are approximately 14,000 of acres of cranberry farms in his state that could potentially be restored. LOV

Two Massachusetts restoration projects have recently returned close to 740 acres of commercial cranberry bogs to wetlands.

Like the Bay Area’s salt ponds, cranberry farming originally involved creating an artificial environment from a natural wetland through the installation of dams and weirs. The cranberries—a plant native to North America that naturally grows as a vine—were then trained to grow in mats on the water’s surface. A project on Tidmarsh Farms in Plymouth, Massachusetts included redirecting a natural stream that had been diverted into an agricultural canal back into its original channel and planting 6,000 Atlantic white cedars to “jumpstart” the native wetland restoration. The farm is approximately 10 feet above sea level, says Alex Hackman, Restoration Specialist with the Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game, so the tides aren’t yet connecting with the new wetlands. But as sea level rises, that could change. In the meantime, native fish like alewives—a river herring—and eels are already returning to the stream. Hackman says there are approximately 14,000 of acres of cranberry farms in his state that could potentially be restored. LOV

About the author

Lisa Owens Viani is a freelance writer and editor specializing in environmental, science, land use, and design topics. She writes for several national magazines including Landscape Architecture Magazine, ICON and Architecture, and has written for Estuary for many years. She is the co-founder of the nonprofit Raptors Are The Solution, www.raptorsarethesolution.org, which educates people about the role of birds of prey in the ecosystem and how rodenticides in the food web are affecting them.

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