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.
Snowy Egret standing on grassy island surrounded by water
Snowy Egret @ Clare Carvel

Salt Marsh Science Project Fish Results & Data

Students participating in Mass Audubon’s Salt Marsh Science Project are helping collect data on fish. Many sites that they are investigating are on sites where roads have been blocking the flow of the incoming tide. To investigate whether these “tidal restrictions” are affecting fish, minnow traps are set on both sides: upstream and downstream. Middle School and High School students are investigating sites on the North Shore of Massachusetts. 

Our Questions include:

  • Where is there a greater number of fish?
  • Where is biodiversity greater?
  • Is the size of fish affected by their location: upstream or downstream of a tidal restriction.


With the help participating students, we have been collecting data on fish as it relates to salt marshes in coastal Massachusetts since 1996. Please note that not all sites are monitored each year—the date range indicates the start date and the most recent year data was collected. 

LocationYears MonitoredParticipating Schools & GroupsRestricted? Restored?
Boston, MA, Thompson Island2006-2008Outward Bound, WellesleyRocks impede tidal flow. Removed August 2007.
Danvers, MA, Behind Mass General North Shore, (Formerly Osram Sylvania)1998-2014Holten Richmond Middle School, Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical High School, DanversTidal restriction and berm. Not restored.
Dorchester, Milton MA, Neponset Marsh2004-2007UMass BostonFilled marsh. Fill removal completed April 2005.
East Boston, MA, Belle Isle Marsh2005Excel Academy Charter School, East BostonNo
Essex, MA, Conomo Point Road1998-2008,Manchester Essex High School, Essex Elementary and Middle SchoolTidal Restriction restored November 2000
Gloucester, MA, Mill Pond1998-2015O'Maley Innovation Middle School in GloucesterTidal restriction. Site flooded when board placed on tidegates spring 2003, killing marsh plants. Tide gates opened beginning spring 2004.
Gloucester, MA, Wingersheek Beach2006Essex North Shore Agriculture & Technical High School, Maritime HeritageBerm
Gloucester, MA, Eastern Point2000-2015Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical High School, Natick Homeschoolers, St. Mel's School in GloucesterTidal restriction restored November 2003.
Ipswich, MA, Littleneck Road2004, 2007Ipswich High SchoolTidal Restriction; culvert collapsed in spring 2000, ponding killed marsh plants. New culvert put in Spring 2001.
Ipswich, MA, Argilla Road1997Mass Audubon and NMFS ScientistsTidal Restriction Restored Fall 1998
Ipswich, MA, Cedar Point1999-2001, 2004, 2009-2010Stoneridge Montessori School, Beverly, The Proctor School (Topsfield)Tidal Restriction Phase 1 Restored Spring 2000
Ipswich, MA, Littleneck Road2004-2007Ipswich High School (site 2)Tidal Restriction; culvert collapsed in spring 2000, ponding killed marsh plants. New culvert put in Spring 2001.
Ipswich, MA, Town Farm Road2000, 2007Ipswich High SchoolTidal Restriction restored Spring 2005
Newburyport, MA, Joppa Flats1998-2015Newburyport: Rupert A. Nock Middle School, River Valley Charter SchoolFill removal restoration and panne creation 1999. Small tidal restriction not restored.
Revere, MA2000-2001Revere High School 
Rockport, MA, Saratoga Creek & Seaview Street1998-2015Rockport Middle SchoolStorm drain sediments removed, panne creation Spring 1999. Seaview St. tidal restriction restored Fall 2003.
Rowley, MA, Batchelder's Landing1996-2007, 2015Pine Grove School in RowleyUnrestricted site (reference site)
Rowley, MA, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge: North Pool2001-2015River Valley Charter School, Newbury Elementary School, Rupert A. Nock Middle School, Northern Essex Community College, Gulf of Maine InstituteRestricted. May be restored in the future.
Salem, MA, Forest River2003-2015Collins Middle School in SalemRestricted. Some Phragmites removed January 2003.
Salisbury, MA, Old County Road2001 onlySalisbury Elementary SchoolRestricted
Salisbury, MA, Railroad bed off Mudnock Road (Town Creek)1998-2002, 2010Salisbury Memorial Elementary SchoolTidal Restriction Transects are downstream of restriction. Downstream transects flooded by closed tidegate killing downstream plants in spring 2004. Site washed out in spring 2005.
Wellfleet, MA, Herring River2001-2002Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter SchoolRestricted
Wellfleet, MA, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary1999Mass AudubonUnrestricted

Analysis Resources

Changes in Salt Marsh Vegetation, Phragmites Australis, and Nekton in Response to Increased Tidal Flushing in a New England Salt Marsh

Get Involved

If you'd like to collect data in your community, contact us