Tidmarsh Farms, a 600 acre-farm situated in Manomet Village, Plymouth Massachusetts, is home to the largest freshwater restoration in Massachusetts.
In the 1980’s these farms were purchased by Evan Schulman and in 1989, the farms produced 1% of Ocean Sprays harvest.
In the early 2000’s, Evan, Glorianna and the Schulman children made the decision to cease farming and to transition these farms for the future. As part of that transition, the recently restored Tidmarsh East was recently purchased by Mass Audubon and is now home to Mass Audubon’s Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary. In parallel Tidmarsh West was purchased by the Town of Plymouth as an open space preserve. It will undergo an ecological restoration in 2019/2020.
Background on the Tidmarsh East ecological restoration: In 2010, the Schulman family placed an initial conservation and restoration easement on Tidmarsh East with the USDA NRCS Wetland Reserve Program. At that time, 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 restore the underlying hydrology of the farmed bogs and to transition this portion of the property into a into a biologically and physically diverse and sustainable fresh water wetland. From 2011-2016, Alex Hackman of the Division of Ecological Restoration served as project manager, leading a team of 22 partners through the process of designing, permitting and implementing a process-based restoration, the largest the largest freshwater wetland restoration ever realized in Massachusetts Restoration actions included removal of 8 dams; the implementation of headwater to ocean stream connectivity to support the passage of wildlife; the implementation of micro-topography to break up the cranberry mat and distribution of 3000 large wood pieces across the site (see principles of restoration). .As the "restoration" trajectory begins, MassAudubon is creating a new MassAudubon Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary. (see also facebook)
Background on Tidmarsh West: The last cranberry harvest was held on Tidmarsh West in 2015. In 2016, the Schulman family finalized an easement with the USDA NRCS Wetlands Reserve Program for the bogs on the west side, and planning for the second wave of ecological restoration began. At the 2016 Fall town meeting, the town meeting members in Plymouth voted to acquire this property for conservation using Community Preservation funds. We anticipate that the active restoration of this property will take place in 2019/2020.
Over the past 2 years, Living Observatory has developed agreements with the new ownership of Tidmarsh East and Tidmarsh West, insuring that our team of research scientists, artists and restoration specialists will be able to continue their research in the areas of restoration science, digital communication, and storytelling that is essential to our ability to tell the long term story of Tidmarsh Farms in transition.