New England Field Office
Conserving the Nature of New England



Partners for Fish & Wildlife

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Tidal and Freshwater Wetlands

Tidal wetlands in New England have been degraded during the last three centuries through a number of human influences. Initially, many of the original salt marshes were manipulated by the early European colonists to produce livestock forage. As colonial settlement progressed, many channels near the head of tide were dammed to provide mechanical power for mills and other channels were tidally-restricted during the development of roads and railroads. During the 20th century, many marsh systems were used as sites to place dump or dredge materials and surface hydrology was further modified through ditching efforts to reduce mosquito populations.

The results of these impacts have resulted in changes to tidal hydrology (natural ebb and flow of the tides) as well as changes to salinity and water quality. The changes to water chemistry have often resulted in replacement of native salt marsh vegetation with non-native invasive species or native species that are more adapted to a freshwater environment.

Working in partnership with state agencies, municipalities, conservation organizations in NH, MA, and RI, the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provides funding and technical assistance to complete several types of restoration projects.


  Restricted tidal opening scheduled for removal in Mattapoisett, MA   

  Interdunal wetland infested with non-native Common Reed

  Pristine indertundal wetland, Sandy Neck, Barnstable, MA

Tidal and Freshwater Wetlands

Dam Removal and River Restoration

Invasive Species

Grassland and Early Successional Habitats

Riparian Habitat Restoration




Last updated: September 11, 2009