Tidmarsh Farms is a 600 acre-farm situated in Manomet Village, Plymouth Massachusetts. Built in the early 1900’s by different owners, the cranberry bogs span either side of Beaver Dam Road. The current owner purchased the farms in the early 1980’s and operated them for the production of cranberries until 2010 when the family made the decision to cease farming, and transition the landscape to a natural wetlands. Today, we divide the property at Beaver Dam Road and refer to them as Tidmarsh East and Tidmarsh West.
Tidmarsh East: In 2010, the owners of Tidmarsh farms placed an initial conservation and restoration easement on Tidmarsh East with the USDA NRCS Wetland Reserve Program, and the 35 acre reservoir (known as Beaver Dam Pond) was drained. In 2011, Tidmarsh East became a priority project for Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration (DER) who led the effort to transform the cranberry bogs into a biologically and physically diverse sustainable fresh water wetland and create headwater to ocean connectivity for passage of wildlife. From 2011-2016, Alex Hackman, as project manager, lead a team of partners to develop, permit and implement this process-based restoration, the largest the largest freshwater wetland restoration ever realized in Massachusetts (see principles of restoration). As the "restoration" trajectory begins, MassAudubon seeks to purchase and create a MassAudubon wildlife sanctuary on this property. Until this sanctuary opens (target date 2017), Tidmarsh East remains closed to the public.
Tidmarsh West experienced its last cranberry harvest in October 2015. In 2016, an easement with the USDA NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program was finalized and plans for the restoration of Tidmarsh West are underway. At the 2016 Fall town meeting, the Town of Plymouth town meeting members voted to acquire this property for conservation using Community Preservation funds.
As Tidmarsh East and Tidmarsh West transition to new ownership, Living Observatory has put agreements in place that will allow our research scientists, artists and restoration specialists to continue essential research in the areas of restoration science, digital communication, and storytelling.