Buzzards Bay Coalition looks to restore popular trail spots

Dec 14, 2018

MATTAPOISETT— Though changes to the site are a year and a half or more away, Buzzards Bay Coalition received funding this week for a missing piece of a site restoration project at its “The Bogs” site.

Brendan Annett, the vice president of watershed protection for the Coalition, explained that residents who love the site for its trails should not worry about those disappearing.

The goal of the site restoration is to make the water flow at the site more natural, and to bring back native plant and animal species, but “Our restoration project will account for the fact that we have these public trails and this great recreational use,” Annett said.

Decas Cranberry owned site when it was still operational as a cranberry bog, and entered into an agreement with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to retire the site, and restore it to the wetlands that it was before 1930, when a commercial bog was first built there.

“The USDA has committed to paying for the cost of the actual restoration work activites,” Annett explained, “but they can’t pay for the engineering and design it.

Just this week the Coalition learned that it had secured funding from the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) to finance the engineering portion of the project. The group will receive financial assistance because they received a priority designation, so the funding amount is not specified, but will be made available as the DER budget allows. 

“This assistance will help with site investigation, to better understand the site and how water flows through it, and then some engineering and modeling to develop some conceptual designs,” Annett said. 

When all the planning is done, Buzzards Bay Coalition employees will carry out the project.

“We have quite a few staff that work on the property to maintain it every day, Annett noted, adding that, “In this case it’s not just about maintaining the part that’s open to the public, it’s about developing and improving it.”

Since the planning is not yet done, it’s still early to say what exactly the site restoration will involve in terms of changes to the site. However Annett speculated that a big piece of it will be removing the pipes that directed water to flow to certain areas, and letting water move more naturally.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is also looking at a similar bog-restoration project at Stewart Bog in Rochester, also owned by Decas Cranberry. 

“We currently have an agreement to buy it from them if we can raise funds, said Annett. “If we are able to buy it from them, the state DER would be interested in helping on that project.”

However, that project is still in very preliminary stages, and is likely even further off than the Mattapoisett project is.