This bridge, installed in June 2016 as part of the Tidmarsh Restoration Project, allows visitors to cross the stream while insuring the critical passage of fish and wildlife migration onto the restored wetlands and the larger watershed.
The goal of the restoration was to return the managed landscape of the cranberry farm back to a dynamic, self-sustaining wetlands; and changes to the stream flow through this location highlight some principals of the restoration design.
Prior to the restoration this roadway acted as an earthen dam (dike) separating the cranberry bogs to the south from the northern Red Maple swamp that you see to the North. The brook flowed straight off the bogs through 2 undersized culverts located at the western edge of the road on which you are now standing. Heavy boards were added or removed from the culverts depending on whether the farmer wanted to keep floodwater on the bogs (for harvest or to protect against frost), or wanted the water off the bogs.
As part of the restoration design, the stream channel was turned to flow east and to enter the relic (original) channel that had become dewatered when the industrial channel was dug (c.1950’s). The water control culverts to the west were then removed and industrial channel was filled in.
Installed on concrete footings, the bridge is designed to allow fish passage, as well as dry floodplain benches to accommodate passage for a range of animals. The location is used by Living Observatory volunteers to count river herring as they pass upstream from the ocean in April and May, and to measure nitrogen and phosphorus export from the restored site.