Press Releases

The Trustees Awarded NFWF Grant for Marsh Restoration Across Islands

Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket  |  October 18, 2023

Boston, MA – October 18, 2023 – The Trustees of Reservations has been awarded a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) grant totaling over $380,000. The funds were allocated to support the Building Beach and Saltmarsh Resilience to Protect Island Communities in Massachusetts project; a partnership between The Trustees, Nantucket Conservation Foundation, and the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission.

The grant will support preliminary design work for barrier beach resilience work at Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge on Nantucket and for salt marsh restoration and resilience work on Chappaquiddick, Martha’s Vineyard.

“We are excited that this critical barrier beach and salt marsh resilience work was prioritized at the national level,” said Cynthia Dittbrenner, Interim Vice President of Conservation and Resilience for the Trustees. “We are already seeing the impacts of sea level rise and increased storm intensity on our barrier beaches on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. This funding will help us design projects to build salt marsh, protect eroding beaches, and maintain public access to these special places.”

On Nantucket, the NFWF funds will support feasibility and preliminary design work to address two vulnerable locations along the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge, a long narrow barrier beach system that creates Nantucket Harbor and provides protection to the town from intense storms. The sites will undergo feasibility studies and preliminary design work to develop and design approaches to decreasing vulnerability, building beach width, and growing salt marsh habitat. This summer, the Trustees in partnership with Nantucket Conservation Foundation premiered a short-film about the impacts of climate change on Coskata-Coatue. The film, Coskata-Coatue: A Refuge on the Edge, is now available via YouTube.

On Martha’s Vineyard, a feasibility study and preliminary design will be developed to restore the saltmarsh around Pocha Pond and on the bay side of the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge. Much of this marsh was historically used for farming purposes, leading to manmade changes to the hydrology of the marsh. The design will include techniques such as ditch remediation or “healing” as well as other techniques currently being used in the Trustees’ Great Marsh restoration work to improve the marsh’s ability to build in elevation naturally and keep up with sea level rise.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring these federal dollars to the Islands, improving the resilience of our natural areas to the threats posed by our changing climate,” shared Darci Schofield, the Trustees Director of the Islands. “With this work, we are helping protect these extraordinary places for their recreational value, but also reaffirming their importance to protecting our community infrastructure and wildlife habitat.”


More about The Trustees

Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 125 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the nation’s first preservation and conservation organization, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. We are a nonprofit, supported by members, friends and donors and our 118 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually.