Prevent Rail Line from Destroying Wetland Habitat

Hockomock Swamp

Target: Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts

Goal: Stop a rail line from permanently damaging a wetland area crucial for local water supplies, flood mitigation, and endangered wildlife habitat

A two-billion-dollar rail line project threatens the existence of Massachusetts’s largest vegetated wetland. The new commuter rail line will bisect part of the swamp that previously had a rail line but has since been taken over by its natural surroundings. Although the rail will only demand one and a half miles of this swampy habitat, environmentalists and citizens worry about water supplies and the degradation of the habitat of endangered species that call this swamp their home. Action much be taken to prevent the destruction of this unique wetland.

The rail line, known as the South Coast Rail, will extend an existing rail line. This project still requires basic permits and federal approval. However, the portion proposed to go through the Hockomock Swamp has already stirred up much debate. The blue-spotted salamander, Blanding’s turtle, and the eastern box turtle are only three of the thirteen state-listed rare or endangered wildlife species known to live in the swamp. The infiltration of such construction will undoubtedly damage their sensitive habitats.

Wildlife habitat isn’t the only thing at stake, however. Nearly five communities in the area rely on the water from the Hockomock Swamp. On average, 7.5 billion gallons of rain fall in the area a year. The wetland is crucial for groundwater recharge and flood mitigation. Development in such a significant place could increase flooding and sedimentation. The state of Massachusetts has struggled with the idea of a rail line through the swamp since the ‘80s. The idea is no better now than it was decades ago. By signing this petition, you are urging the Governor of Massachusetts to deny the access of the Hockomock Swamp for the construction of a commuter rail line.


Dear Governor Patrick,

The Hockomock Swamp is a precious Massachusetts wetland, the largest freshwater wetland in the state. The South Coast Rail threatens the swamp’s integrity, wildlife, plant life, and water supplies. Home to thirteen rare and endangered species, a rail line through the swamp will truly destroy the sensitive habitat of these declining wildlife species.

The wetland plays a significant role in the ecology of the area by providing flood mitigation and groundwater recharge. Several communities near the swamp rely on this area for groundwater. Please take action to protect water supplies and endangered wildlife habitat by denying access to the Hockomock Swamp for an invasive commuter rail line.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Keith Simmons via Flickr

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145 Signatures

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