Tidmarsh Sanctuary
The 479-acre Tidmarsh cranberry farm now is a sanctuary of coldwater streams, ponds, forest, and woodlands. Image courtesy of Mass Audubon.

Cranberries, a Thanksgiving treat, have long been farmed in Massachusetts on what were once wetlands. Cranberry bogs need to be seasonally flooded. So, farmers dammed and drained the land, then dug channels to get water on and off the bogs as needed.

Now, much of the industry has moved elsewhere.

Davenport: “If you abandon a cranberry bog and just let it naturalize on its own, it quickly turns into what looks like an upland woodland.”

Glorianna Davenport owns a former cranberry farm near Plymouth. She saw a chance to restore the land to its original function as a wetland. She’s partnered with conservation groups who have removed dams, filled ditches, and recreated a three-mile stream.

Davenport: “What you have now is a meandering stream channel through an exquisite maple swamp.”

Learn how restored wetlands can create more than wildlife habitat. Click To Tweet

Restored wetlands create more than wildlife habitat. They hold water like a sponge and can help prevent flooding during extreme weather. Wetlands’ rich soils and plant life also hold a lot of carbon, which helps reduce CO2 in the atmosphere.

In other words, these wetlands give us a lot to be thankful for.

Reporting credit: Daisy Simmons/ChavoBart Digital Media.

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