What You Can Do

The following are organizations that offer volunteer opportunities to protect the Great Marsh. Please contact volunteer coordinators at these organizations to find out what volunteer projects are needing your support.
Essex County Greenbelt Association

peopleinmarshhorizontalMassachusetts Audubon Society

The Trustees of Reservations

The Parker RIver National Wildlife Refuge

The Parker River Clean Water Association

Ipswich River Watershed Association

Eight Towns and the Great Marsh

Essex National Heritage Area

The following chart explains some of the threats and solutions we can all employ to maintain the health of the Great Marsh:

What You Can Do
The construction of dams, overfishing, and habitat degradation have reduced migratory fish populations Help construct and repair fishways to allow passage in spawning areas and participate in annual fish counts
Culverts, dikes, and bridges have altered natural tidal flows into the marsh and resulted in a loss of native wildlife habitats Support projects that restore degraded marsh and volunteer to help monitor changes in plant and wildlife at restoration sites
An increase in freshwater runoff from encroaching new development can contribute to the spread of invasive species such as Phragmites australis (common reed) into adjacent salt marsh habitats Protect or create buffer zones (areas of undisturbed vegetation) by maintaining or using native plants along the edge of properties adjacent to the marsh and minimize the amount of impervious surface on these properties
Boat wakes contribute to marsh erosion and lead habitat loss for migratory shorebirds Observe headway speed limits for boating traffic and watch for designated no wake zones
Runoff from roads, driveways, lawns, and parking lots contaminate waterways, shellfish beds, and other marsh habitats Keep chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and car care products and fuel from washing into storm drains
Bacteria from poorly functioning septic systems, pet waste, horse pastures, and manure piles contaminate waterways and shellfish beds Build and maintain quality septic systems, properly dispose of pet waste, and improve and maintain pasture and manure management
There are several marinas, over 1,000 vessels on moorings, and hundreds of boats visiting Great Marsh waterways Use pumpout vessels to dispose of boat sewage, use oil absorbent pads or bilge socks to avoid oil leaks, cleanup after working on boats at the boatyard, and promote the use of four-stroke or electric engines to reduce fuel and oil discharge
Open space is lost as more homes and subdivisions are built to support a growing number of residents in the Great Marsh Support officials in implementing open space plans and incorporating growth management strategies into local bylaws and regulations
Roads and housing developments fragment open space and wildlife corridors Volunteer with local land trusts and open space committees to identify, protect, and acquire important parcels of land
Local water supplies are being stretched beyond their capacity as more people move to the area and need water for drinking, recreation, agriculture, and business activities Conserve water by reducing the size of lawns, planting native plants and grasses that require less watering, and installing low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water us