Living Observatory Projects

Living Observatory (LO) is a public interest learning collaborative of scientists, artists, and wetland restoration practitioners engaged in the documenting, interpreting, and revealing the arc of change as it occurs prior to, during, and following the ecological wetland restoration on retired cranberry farms. LO was initially founded to complement the trajectory of the Tidmarsh Farms Restoration Project, the largest freshwater wetland restoration project to date in Massachusetts, and the upcoming restoration at Foothills Preserve.

This new site, at, will serve as a central hub for Living Observatory researchers, projects, and data. Here you will be able to explore the diverse group of people and the projects that comprise LO.

Project Updates

Herring Count Summary, May 9 - fish at both bridges!

Volunteer River Herring Monitoring at Beaver Dam Brook and Manomet Brook
By Sara P. Grady on May 9, 2024
Hooray! We have fish! So far 36 river herring have been seen at Bridge #2 and what's even more amazing, 2 fish have been seen at Bridge #1. This is the first year that we've seen herring there so that's very exciting. Right now our number of fish per week is tracking along with 2018, which was a relatively low year, but there's still 2/3 of a month to go as well. In 2018, the issue was likely the inability of river herring to get through the entrance to Beaver Dam Brook at White Horse Beach. We have talked to the town and they recently cleared the culvert and brook entrance so that's not a concern this year. That said, the structure of the beach and location of the sand on it means that passage into Beaver Dam Brook is difficult except at high tide, so fish passage is limited through part of the tidal cycle. It is a testament to the restoration of Tidmarsh that there are river herring traveling through the system at all. Keep collecting that data so we can have a valid population estimate at the end of the season. Happy May!

Herring Count Summary, April 1, 2024

Volunteer River Herring Monitoring at Beaver Dam Brook and Manomet Brook
By Sara P. Grady on April 1, 2024
On April 1, 2022 our counters apparently saw 21 herring (an April Fools joke?), but no herring have arrived yet this year! That's to be expected. In four out of six of the years that we've been counting, the first herring have arrived between the 10th and 16th of April. In 2018, they didn't arrive until April 27th but that was a difficult year for their migration due to multiple coastal storms that impacted the inlet at White Horse Beach. Be reassured though - we have seen herring every year at some point. Keep recording those zeros and soon there will be fish to see.

Windswept Cranberry Bog Restoration Project Awarded $1 Million USFWS Grant

Windswept Bog, Nantucket Island MA: Watershed-scale Wetland Restoration and Research
By Karen Beattie on February 29, 2024
The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game's Division of Ecological Restoration (DER), in partnership with the Nantucket Conservation Foundation, has been awarded $1 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the Windswept Bog Wetland Restoration Project, which will restore and enhance a 231-acre property containing 39 acres of former cranberry bog and 111 acres of natural wetlands.

2024 Herring Count Training Dates!

Volunteer River Herring Monitoring at Beaver Dam Brook and Manomet Brook
By Kimberly Snyder on February 27, 2024
That time of year is here again! Herring count trainings have been scheduled for our new and returning volunteers!

Surveying Restored Wetlands and Streams to Inform Research on Ecosystem Function

Quantifying Nutrient Transport and Transformation in Stream Channels Associated with Active, Retired, and Restored Cranberry Farms
By Molly Welsh on January 25, 2024
As part of an ongoing project to assess changes in ecosystem structure and function following wetland restoration, scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) have been measuring water chemistry, streamflow, water storage, and topography at a range of active cranberry farms and those that have been retired and converted into wetlands. As part of these assessments, post-restoration surveying has been conducted at two sites, Manomet Brook and Eel River.

Groundbreaking on Windswept Bog Restoration Project, Nantucket MA

Windswept Bog, Nantucket Island MA: Watershed-scale Wetland Restoration and Research
By Jen Karberg on January 17, 2024
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation is excited to announce that we have broken ground on a multiyear, watershed-level restoration of our Windswept Bog property this was retired from active cranberry farming in 2017. Initial work on the site started just last week an dis progressing quickly! This significant milestone is the culmination of over four years of research, monitoring, engineering plan development, permitting, and grant writing undertaken by NCF, the Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration’s Cranberry Bog Program (DER) and Fuss & O’Neill, Inc. engineers.

Winterizing the nursery

Growing Atlantic White Cedars for Wetland Restoration Sites
By Glorianna Davenport on December 10, 2023
The past two weeks, Moses has been helping me winterize the nursery. Tasks include putting pots in pans of water so the roots of the AWC potted trees stay moist, cleaning the plastic ends and cover rolls on the greenhouse, putting up a snow fence, wrapping the groups of larger AWC that are growing up by the house to protect them from the intense sun and drying winds of spring that can be destructive prior to leaf out of the river birches.

Live Data

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