Salt water and sun. Crabbing, clamming and swimming. From Cape Cod to the North Shore, our way of life is tied to the ocean. Our coast still has remnants of tangled forest, grass-covered dunes and coastal creeks teeming with a universe of creatures. Whales, sea turtles and shorebirds travel thousands of miles to feed in our waters. This is where we sail, swim and comb the beaches.
Once, the Massachusetts coastline was crawling with shellfish. One could hardly set foot in the shallows without crushing dinner. Deeper waters held riches of flounder, haddock and cod, sparking a fishing industry that would become one of the busiest in the world.
Our marine lands and waters still provide Bay State residents with food, jobs and protection against storms. But their historic abundance is threatened like never before as climate change, unplanned development and unsustainable harvests take a toll.
We can keep Massachusetts’ oceans and coastal communities healthy, beautiful and productive. But we need your support to make it happen.
Our Marine Conservation Solutions
The Conservancy is working in partnership with local communities, businesses, government and partner organizations to find solutions that help our marine ecosystems as well as the people, plants and animals that rely on them.
- Supporting Sustainable Harvests
New England’s fisheries define our coastal way of life and provide millions of dollars in economic benefits. We partner with fishing communities to identify and promote new, more sustainable fishing practices that promise to boost the fishermen’s bottom lines while supporting our goal of ecological health in the sea.
- Restoring Coastal Habitats
Oyster reefs, seagrass beds, salt marshes and estuaries offer habitat to myriad species, protection for our coasts and nurseries that support the entire marine food web. We apply field-tested science to restore and preserve these ecological treasures , creating a resilient coastline that will provide for people today and for centuries to come.
- Connecting Land, River and Sea
Salmon, shad and sturgeon move thousands of miles through our rivers to the ocean. Forests, wetlands and rivers work together to filter pollution before it reaches the sea. We work to restore connectivity and protect water quality for all creatures. Our “whole watershed” approach includes land protection, dam removal and science and policy work that produce dramatic benefits across vast landscapes.
- Balancing Nature and Commerce
From liquefied natural gas terminals to desalinization plants and gas pipelines, the push to develop infrastructure offshore puts escalating pressure on Massachusetts’ waters. We conduct research and advocacy work in support of Marine Spatial Planning —sensible, science-based ocean planning that supports economic development as well as ecological sustainability.
- Reaching Beyond Borders
For the humpback whale that summers in our waters but travels to the Caribbean to breed, or the red knot whose migratory journey depends on habitats along the entire Atlantic coast, Massachusetts is intimately connected to distant places. Read about our work to keep Massachusetts a stronghold for migratory species.
The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts strives to protect ocean ecosystems in ways that benefit marine life, local communities and coastal economies. Just as ocean species are dynamic and wide-ranging, so are we in our approach.