Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Staff and volunteers in the salt marsh digging runnels
Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, South Dartmouth

Ecological Restoration

Mass Audubon has a long history of using ecological restoration and management techniques to support healthy wildlife habitats and biological diversity.  

What is Ecological Restoration? 

Protecting land from future development and stewarding our properties for resiliency is important, but what happens when a piece of land is degraded, polluted, or overrun with invasives? That’s where ecological restoration comes in.   

Ecological restoration assists in the recovery of damaged, degraded, or destroyed ecosystems, and includes many kinds of methods to rejuvenate forests, fields, rivers, and wetlands. In collaboration with community partners and expert ecologists, we work to address past damage and restore degraded ecosystems back to a dynamic and self-sustaining condition so that they can benefit wildlife and people for years to come.  

Mass Audubon’s Ecological Restoration Program 

Our Ecological Restoration Program builds on our longstanding tradition of encouraging recovery of damaged and degraded ecosystems and provides a larger capacity to take on projects of significant scope and scale.  Our near-term focus is on projects with the biggest opportunity for positive impact including: 

  • Wetland restoration on retired cranberry farmland 
  • Salt marsh restoration  
  • Urban wetlands restoration 
  • Dam and other barrier removals from coastal and inland waterways 

Our Ecological Restoration Program staff brings decades of practitioner experience to the challenge of designing, permitting, and implementing aquatic habitat restoration projects.  Staff from other departments and programs bring complementary experience in forestry and grassland ecology, allowing Mass Audubon to consider restoration opportunities across the whole landscape of Massachusetts.   

Our work relies on close partnership with other landowners and organizations—we are grateful for the chance to work with others to restore ecological health and resilience in our wetlands, streams, forests, and fields. 

Ecological Restoration Projects

  • Excavator during dam removal on the Sackett Brook at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary
    Sackett Brook dam removal

    Sackett Brook Restoration Project at Canoe Meadows

    Along with our partners, Mass Audubon worked to remove a disruptive dam and restore the ecological integrity of Sackett Brook, which passes through Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary. 

  • A tall white bird sticks out in a green saltmarsh. A channel of open water cuts through the center of the marsh.
    Allens Pond, South Dartmouth

    Conservation Projects at Allens Pond

    Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is actively involved with a variety of research projects that relate to wildlife monitoring, research, restoration, and conservation.

  • Volunteers counting herring from a bridge over the stream at Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary

    Conservation Projects at Tidmarsh

    Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary is actively involved with a variety of projects that relate to protecting and restoring resilient landscapes.

  • Allens Pond salt marsh with a water channel
    © Darya Zelentsova

    Coastal Resilience

    Mass Audubon’s approach to Coastal Resilience uses climate adaptation and nature-based climate solutions to focus on the protection, management, and restoration of four coastal priority habitats.

  • Planting a tree as part of a floodplain forest restoration project at Arcadia
    Planting trees to restore floodplain forest

    Planting a Forest with the Climate in Mind

    More than 50 volunteers turned out in the last days of October 2020 to help restore a floodplain forest at Arcadia. Now, a second round of funding will expand the restoration effort to an additional 5 acres.

  • People in Stream with Buckets at Broad Meadow Brook
    Stream restoration work at Broad Meadow Brook, Worcester

    Stream Restoration to Combat Climate Change

    The restoration of this land is essential to develop a self-sustaining, dynamic wetland ecosystem that is accessible for the enjoyment and benefit of neighbors, residents, and visitors. 

Envisioning the Impact of Restoration 

Completed projects will build climate resilience, improve biological diversity, protect water quality, and rejuvenate beautiful natural places for people to visit and enjoy. Integration with land conservation and habitat management practices will help us meet our Action Agenda goals for resilient landscapes

For more information or to discuss potential projects, please contact us.