Publication Date

Spring 2023

Committee Members

Michael Davidsohn Jack Ahern Robert Ryan


Cranberry bogs are an iconic part of the New England scenery, specifically on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Commercial cranberry farming originated in the states starting in 1816, but the indigenous people of New England have had a much longer relationship to the plant, Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait. Cranberry farming relies more heavily on access to freshwater than other forms of agriculture; because of the use of water for irrigation, harvesting, and overwintering protection, cranberry bogs are often located in areas directly adjacent to waterways. Although necessary to support productive bogs the agricultural practices involved in cranberry growing have significant ecological impacts on the landscape, most notably their intimate connection to rivers, streams, and ponds. Combined with growing concerns about water quality in watersheds with bogs present, new opportunities are being pursued to explore the role retired cranberry bogs can play in improving water quality. The goals of restoring wetland functions to the Marstons Mills cranberry bog is to pilot a program that can use retired bogs to attenuate and reduce the flow of nitrogen downriver into the Three Bays estuary. Restoring habitat, providing public access to recreational trails, and providing educational opportunities for visitors are additional goals for the project. This proposal finds a common language between the technical aspects involved in wetland restoration and with the community stakeholders who will be impacted by the restoration. Providing a glimpse into the recreational opportunities that will be present on the site will help to get the broader community excited about future restoration projects.