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 Vegetation Results & Data

Mass Audubon scientists are leading efforts to monitor the vegetation of salt marshes over time, particularly where the Phragmites are growing. Middle and high school students are helping with this monitoring through participating in Mass Audubon’s Salt Marsh Science Project. We are investigating whether Phragmites are spreading in the salt marsh, how fast Phragmites are spreading, and whether the height and spread rate is impacted by different salinity (salt content) levels. 


With the help participating students, we have been collecting data on vegetation 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 Island2005-2007Outward Bound, WellesleyRocks impede tidal flow. Removed August 2007.
Byfield, MA2008, 2015Governor's AcademyReference
Danvers, MA, Behind Mass General North Shore (Formerly Osram Sylvania)1997-2015Holten Richmond Middle School, Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical High School, DanversTidal restriction and berm. Not restored.
Dorchester, Milton MA, Neponset Marsh2004-2008UMass BostonFilled marsh, fill removal completed April 2005
East Boston, MA, Belle Isle Marsh2003-2004Excel Academy Charter School, East BostonNo
Essex, MA, Conomo Point Road1998-2015Manchester Essex High School, Essex Elementary and Middle School, Saints AcademyTidal Restriction restored November 2000
Gloucester, MA, Eastern Point2000-2015Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical High School, O’Maley Innovation Middle School, Natick Homeschoolers, St. Mel's School in GloucesterTidal restriction restored November 2003.
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 Beach2005-2007Essex North Shore Agriculture & Technical High School, Maritime HeritageBerm
Ipswich, MA, Argilla Road1997-2002,  2005Mass Audubon and NMFS ScientistsTidal Restriction Restored Fall 1998
Ipswich, MA, Cedar Point1999-2015Stoneridge Montessori School, Beverly, The Proctor School (Topsfield), TrusteesTidal Restriction Phase 1 restored Spring 2000
Ipswich, MA, Littleneck Road1999-2015Ipswich High SchoolTidal Restriction; culvert collapsed in spring 2000, ponding killed marsh plants. New culvert put in Spring 2001.
Ipswich, MA, Town Farm Road1996-2015Ipswich 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, MA2001Revere High School 
Rowley, MA, Batchelder's Landing1996-2015Pine Grove School in Rowley, Franklin Pierce College, HomeschoolUnrestricted 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.
Rockport, MA, Saratoga Creek & Seaview Street1998-2015Rockport Middle SchoolStorm drain sediments removed; panne creation Sp. 1999. Seaview St. tidal restriction restored Fall 2003.
Salem, MA, Forest River2002-2015Salem: Collins Middle School, Nathaniel Bowditch School, Saltonstall School, Salem AcademyRestricted. Some Phragmites removed January 2003.
Salisbury, MA, Old County Road2001 onlySalisbury Elementary SchoolRestricted
Salisbury, MA, Railrod bed off Mudnock Road (Town Creek)1998-2015Salisbury Elementary School, Mass AudubonTidal 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 River2000-2004Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter SchoolRestricted
Wellfleet, MA, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary1999-2001Mass AudubonUnrestricted

Salt Marsh Restoration & 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