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$1M federal grant to help salt marsh restoration project north of Boston

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant to the Trustees of Reservations announced this week will fund restoration of an additional 916 acres of the Great Marsh in Ipswich and Essex.

Part of what is referred to as The Great Marsh, this portion of which is in Ipswich on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. (Nicholas Pfosi for the Boston Globe)


BOSTON (AP) — A widescale effort to restore hundreds of acres of salt marsh north of Boston has received a $1 million federal grant.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant to the Trustees of Reservations announced this week will fund restoration of an additional 916 acres of the Great Marsh in Ipswich and Essex.

With a total funded scope of 1,274 acres, it represents the largest coastal or ecological restoration project in the 130-year history of the Trustees, and one of the largest restoration projects of its type in Massachusetts, the organization said in a statement.

The project’s goal is to repair what is called “ditching,” an agricultural practice dating to Colonial times that leaves the ecosystem vulnerable to floods.

“Using nature-based solutions, the restoration aims to rebuild marsh peat naturally over time, ultimately restoring the health and natural function of the marsh and allowing it to keep pace with sea-level rise,” the Trustees said in a statement.

The marsh protects shorelines from rising sea levels, serves as a buffer to adjacent uplands from storm surge and is a critical habitat for multiple species.

The project is expected to take three to five years.

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