Two kids running in the snow. We all need nature—and nature needs you. Together, we can protect the wildlife and wild lands of Massachusetts for generations to come. Make a tax-deductible donation today.
Two kids running in the snow. We all need nature—and nature needs you. Together, we can protect the wildlife and wild lands of Massachusetts for generations to come. Make a tax-deductible donation today.
boardwalk trail through a grassy meadow
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellfleet

Conservation Projects at Wellfleet Bay

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is actively involved with a variety of research projects that relate to wildlife monitoring, research, restoration, and conservation on the Outer Cape. 

Many of the projects focus on endangered or threatened species, or those that have declining populations. 

Rescuing Stranded Sea Turtles

Sea Turtle Rescue Field School participants © Esther Horvath
© Esther Horvath

Every fall, some number of juvenile turtles don't make the journey out of the Bay in time to head south. Trapped by the "hook" of the Cape, they become disoriented and too cold to eat, drink, or swim. Cold-stunned, they wash up on the beach and are left as the water recedes during low tide. How we help sea turtles

Banding Songbirds

The primary goal of banding at Wellfleet Bay is to understand and monitor how migrating and year- round birds use the sanctuary’s different habitats. More about our bird banding program

Monitoring Diamondback Terrapins

Handful of Diamondback Terrapin hatchlings © Terri Munson
Diamondback Terrapin hatchlings © Terri Munson

Wellfleet Bay has been monitoring Outer Cape populations of the state-threatened Diamondback Terrapin since 1980. More about our terrapin work

Monitoring Coastal Waterbirds

Wellfleet Bay protects and monitors nesting Piping Plovers, Least Terns, Common Terns, and American Oystercatchers at several private, state, and Mass Audubon-owned beaches between Truro and Chatham. More about Mass Audubon's Coastal Waterbird Program

Horseshoe Crab Surveys and Tagging

Group of horseshoe crabs

Since 1990, Wellfleet Bay has conducted research and monitoring related to Atlantic Horseshoe Crab populations on the Outer Cape that has helped promote a sustainable fishery and guide local conservation efforts. More about our horseshoe crab conservation work

Ecological Management

Join Wellfleet Bay staff in field restoration work and other sanctuary projects that benefit wildlife populations. Projects are ongoing and year-round.