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Ditching the Marshes Cover_Final_08262022_FRONT, low res.jpg

Paperback, 40 pages, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

ISBN: 978-1-7354745-7-1 (paperback)
Also available in eBook/Kindle version, with hyperlinks to many further resources

Cover: Salt marshes at Westport River, MA, just north of Horseneck Beach. Photo by William E. Richardson, Gary M. Banks, 2022.

Ditches in Salt Marshes

Here at Third Cliff in Scituate, Massachusetts, where the North River meets the sea, we have salt marshes. And we have questions about those ditches in the marshes. What are they? How old are they?

We have some answers, more questions, and a whole long bibliography. You can find this in my new book, discussed elsewhere on this page.

A partial, preliminary version is here for download. This version is from 7-31-22. But the eBook/paperback versions published in September have much more information.

And here is a draft submission for the Massachusetts State Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS), although it seems it will not appear there because it goes beyond the scope of the form. It incorporates most of an early version of the bibliography. It highlights that Scituate's North River marshes occupy almost 2,000 acres, a huge portion of the town's remaining open space.

Take a look at 1968 and 1978 aerial photos of this area on Ditches' subtabs, here, and here. See also photo album, here.

In addition, my fellow historian and author, Jim Glinski, has an excellent discussion of ditches, published at the NSRWA website. Part 1 is available here, and Part 2 here. It kindly mentions my new book.

Ditching the Marshes digs into the history of ditches in salt marshes. English colonists in northeast North America dug drainage ditches to help in harvesting salt marsh hay for their livestock. Then in the early 1900s, Americans dug drainage ditches in marshes to eliminate breeding grounds of mosquitoes. Ditching expanded in the 1920s and later. Today, mosquito ditches cover nearly all marshes on the US East Coast. Now those ditches, as well as sea level rise, may threaten the future of the marshes. Scientists and others are working on these issues. This book compiles and highlights information about their work, and provides a history of ditches.

And even more -- a great presentation on "Making Salt Marshes More Climate Resilient," sponsored by the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, and Mass Audubon, February 2023. Video available from NSRWA's website and on YouTube.

Available now at

Buttonwood Books and Toys

747 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy

Cohasset, MA 02025   Tel (781) 383-2665

Early Reviews

"Such a great resource ... fascinating."

"this information ... is fantastic!!!"

"I cannot wait to buy one."

"Great info on the Marshes"

Available online (Kindle and paperback)

Also available through IngramSpark

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