Did you know that our watershed ecologist, Dr. Sara Grady, also works outside of our watershed? Sara is also the South Shore Regional Coordinator of the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (MassBays), which means she works on coastal issues from Cohasset to Plymouth. Here are some of the projects that she has been working on lately:

  • Shellfish surveys of the Gulf River (Cohasset) – Sara works with the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research ( to conduct snorkel surveys of the Gulf River. The purpose of this is to assess existing shellfish species and abundance to better inform locals that interested in potential shellfish restoration. Thus far, she has discovered that European oysters (Ostrea edulis) are the most abundant, which is good because they help clean the Gulf but not ideal because they are considered invasive.
  • Dam removals (Cohasset, Scituate, Kingston, and Plymouth) – Besides working on dam removals in our watershed, Sara is also involved with other dam removal projects. Hunters Pond Dam was the first dam from the ocean on Bound Brook, a tributary to the Gulf River. It is in the process of being removed as we speak, which will allow river herring that return to the Gulf and Bound Brook to reach spawning habitat in Aaron River Reservoir. Sara is also supporting the Jones River Watershed Association and the Town of Kingston to remove Elm Street Dam on the Jones River, and the Town of Plymouth to removal Holmes Dam on Town Brook.  Sara’s work focuses on pre- and post-restoration monitoring as well as ongoing project support and collaboration.
  • Tide gates and tidal culverts (Marshfield and Scituate) – Sara is part of the technical team for the Green Harbor River restoration and tide gate modification. She monitored the ecology of the river from 2010-2012 and will be re-monitoring sites along the river over the next few years, in the context of the town’s recent grant to model the impact of sea level rise on tide gate dynamics. She is also assisting Scituate with a possible culvert replacement at Gilson Road, near Peggotty Beach.
  • Ocean acidification monitoring (Duxbury/Kingston/Plymouth Bay) – MassBays is working with UMass Boston to install a logger at the Duxbury Harbormaster’s pier that will very accurately record the pH of the water among other water quality parameters. This is important because even slightly more acidic water can have a serious impact on shellfish survival and development. Sara will be acting as the local contact for logger maintenance, helping to train volunteers to keep it running smoothly.
  • Eelgrass loss (Duxbury/Kingston/Plymouth Bay) – In 2015 Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries mapped and analyzed eelgrass loss in the Duxbury/Kingston/Plymouth bay complex. The next step in this project is to consult experts on potential causes of the loss, and to create a rapid assessment protocol that Sara would train volunteers to use to monitor the extent and health of eelgrass in the embayment.

So as you can see, the work in our watershed is just the tip of the iceberg! Sara, MassBays and NSRWA provide support for lots of projects on the South Shore.