MA - State gives Great Marsh restoration priority status

NEWBURY — The Trustees of Reservations has been awarded priority project designation status from the state Department of Fish and Game's Division of Ecological Restoration for salt marsh restoration in the Great Marsh. The Great Marsh spans more than 20,000 acres from Cape Ann to the New Hampshire border, but its vast majority has been degraded and placed at-risk by widespread historic ditching.

The project seeks to bring together multiple stakeholders to pilot innovative methods for restoring the salt marsh habitat in the face of sea level rise at the Old Town Hill Reservation in Newbury, as well as two additional sites in Essex and Ipswich.

The goal of the restoration is to fortify more than 300 acres that serve as a key environmental buffer, protecting the habitat and neighboring communities. Last summer, the Trustees was awarded a $15,740 MassBays grant to support the first phase of this long-term ditch remediation project to restore salt marsh in the Parker River Estuary, targeting 85 acres of salt marsh at Old Town Hill Reservation.

The priority designation makes The Trustees eligible for state grant funding and assistance to support the restoration.

“We are honored to receive this special designation by the Commonwealth to pursue an innovative and vital coastal project that will have a measurable benefit for many communities and coastal habitats for years to come,” said Trustees President and CEO Barbara Erickson in a press release. “We look forward to working with the Division of Ecological Restoration on this multi-year project to protect this resource.”

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