Conservation

The mission of Nahant Marsh Education Center is to protect, enhance, and restore the Marsh through education, research, and conservation.

Each year there are opportunities for volunteers to help with our conservation efforts like our annual Spring Cleanup and volunteer days.

In 2020 we:

  • Seeded 21.5 new acres of wetland and prairie
  • Removed 266 bags of garbage from adjacent roadways
  • Took 169 trailer loads of brush to the compost facility
  • Had 806 hours of natural resource volunteer help
  • Burned 9.75 acres of prairie with prescribed fire
  • Cleared invasive shrubs from 4.2 acres of prairie
  • Collected 333 tires
  • Planted 253 trees

Nahant Marsh’s Management Plan
Lead by Kinsey Nielsen- Natural Resources Manager

Overall Management Goal: Enhance and maintain the biodiversity of Nahant Marsh flora and fauna.

Management techniques are reviewed yearly at Nahant Marsh because of the high seed sources of invasive species coming in from the adjacent highway (I-280), the railroad, and the industrial areas surrounding the marsh. Monitoring helps to determine which techniques are needed, and how often. This is why the research conducted each summer through the LSAMP IINSPIRE program is so important to us.

The three main techniques employed at Nahant Marsh are prescribed burns, invasive species removal and increasing diversity.

Prescribed Burns
Historically, fire has maintained grassland ecology naturally. Fire releases nutrients to the ground and controls undesirable vegetation, increasing species diversity. Prairie plants can survive fires since they have deep roots and grow from a point underground. The prairies at Nahant Marsh are burned at regular intervals to help keep them healthy and improve wildlife habitat.

Invasive Species Removal
Invasive species removal requires pulling or spraying herbaceous invasives. Annual invasives can be cut or pulled before going to seed and no herbicide is needed. Perennial invasives need to have their roots fully removed or to be treated with an herbicide. Cutting and spot spraying the stumps works best in late summer and fall, as it reduces the amount of herbicide used. It should not be done in the spring.

Other techniques include mowing and spraying. Large patches of annuals can be mowed prior to them seeding. Mowing large areas of perennials stresses them, but does not kill them completely. Sometimes spraying large areas of perennials is the only option. Reed Canary Grass and Phragmites need a combination treatment (mowing/ burning and then spraying).

Increasing Diversity
Adding a variety of native seeds each fall to our prairies is critical to increasing native diversity. Planting plugs works well in small areas as they need to be watered often until established- which would not be feasible for our large areas. In the forested sections of Nahant, planting native tree species in the spring and fall help increase forest diversity. Small areas at a time are best since opening large areas for planning will increase the chances of invasives coming into that area.

Did you find an animal that needs help?
While Nahant Marsh is dedicated to preserving the health of plants and animals in our area, we are not a wildlife rehabilitation facility. Click the following link for a list of wildlife rehab facilities that can help you if you find an animal in need.