Ducks Unlimited has joined Mass Audubon to protect Tidmarsh Farms, a former cranberry farm in Plymouth that was recently restored to its natural state.

When complete, the land will become Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary, a living laboratory providing visitors an up-close glimpse at what happens when you allow nature to return to its former glory. The goal of the sanctuary project is to manage and protect wetland habitat that will benefit waterfowl and other wetland wildlife, while providing recreational opportunities for people.

Protection of the 600-acre property will ensure habitat is available for breeding and migrating birds. With restoration nearly complete, Mass Audubon is close to establishing a wildlife sanctuary on 479 acres of wetlands, woods and grasslands and partnering with the town of Plymouth to protect an additional 139 acres, for a total of 618 acres conserved. Funding is still being sought to complete the $3.6 million project.

Tidmarsh is home to freshwater marshes, grasslands, pine barrens and shrublands that support endangered and threatened species. The town of Plymouth is developing faster than any other community in Massachusetts, so protection of this habitat is vital.

Already more than a dozen dams have been removed, more than three miles of new stream channel have been excavated and thousands of tons of sediment have been removed to connect the headwaters of Beaver Dam Brook with the ocean for migrating fish such as river herring, brook trout and American eel.

Tidmarsh is the largest freshwater ecological restoration ever attempted in the Northeast. Native plants are emerging and attracting a wide variety of insect, reptile and bird species that have not been seen on this property for a century or more.

For full Tidmarsh details, visit the Mass Audubon site.