Buzzards Bay Coalition describes plans for bog restoration

Sep 15, 2020

MATTAPOISETT — It could be years before The Bogs in Mattapoisett are fully restored, but the Buzzards Bay Coalition held a public meeting to let the community know the coalition is working to keep moving the project forward.

The coalition has been working for years to restore the no-longer-in-use cranberry bogs to their natural state.

A proposed layout for the bogs, which preserves the already existing shrub swamp, includes a boardwalk, ponds, and a mix of high, dry land and low wetlands.

The bogs are currently split into a large reservoir, called the shrub swamp, and 13 smaller ‘cells,’ which Restoration Ecologist Sara Quintal described as “checkerboards.”

Trails run around the cells and the edge of the bogs, but the coalition’s plans for the property include a more natural-looking trail system.

“It’s going to me a much more well-thought out approach that will feel more like a walk through wetlands than a walk through a checkerboard,” Quintal said.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition has consulted with engineers, who have helped develop the plans for the project, which include ecological preservation as well as walkability. 

The plan was made with the intention of enhancing the already existing ecosystems and preparing the bogs for all weather conditions, while also allowing for continued public use. 

“Continuing that use for the property is something we’ve stressed to the engineers,” Brendan Annett said, a representative of the Buzzards Bay Coalition. 

The plan allows for filtration of excess rainwater between sections, allowing for preservation of the property’s ecosystems in dry summers, as well as wet winters. Connections to groundwater may even allow for ponds to freeze over in the winter.

Annett noted that the proposed plan for the bogs also preserves the open look of the bogs as viewed from the roadside. 

In response to a public comment, Quintal said the treeline around the wetlands will likely march forward, but the proposed filtration system should help keep the treeline in check –– as long as the wetlands stay wet. 

“The wetter the site, the longer it stays open,” Quintal said. 

Quintal responded to another comment to say that the existing trails in the woods beyond the bogs will be preserved. 

Annnett added that the fluctuation of the bogs’ water levels, with the help of Tripps Mill Brook, will be comparable to the seasonal water levels of the Mattapoisett river. 

But that doesn’t mean the project intends to exploit the brook. 

“We don’t want to mess with the hydrology of the brook,” Quintal said.

Instead, Quintal said the proposed plan looks to use the existing conditions of the area to “guide how much water flows when.”

Still, it could be years until alterations to the bogs begin. 

The project is currently going through a long approval process which could take up to a year. 

Quintal said “everybody gets their opportunity to lay their expertise eyes” on the plan. 

The project will then be bid out to construction agencies, with construction planned to begin before 2022. 

“Now, it’s just a matter of getting all the technical details and permits in hand,” Quintal said. 

The Buzzards Bay Coalition has no current timeline for when the project may reach completion.