Great Marsh lecture set for Wednesday 

Courtesy photoFragile salt marsh along the shore at Joppa Flats at the mouth of the Merrimack River 

NEWBURYPORT — Peter Phippen, coastal coordinator for the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission and the Massachusetts Bays Estuary Program, gives a presentation about the Great Marsh on Wednesday.

The presentation, "The Changing Great Marsh," will be from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center, 1 Plum Island Turnpike.

Phippen's talk will demonstrate how the Great Marsh is changing, and predicted to change, as sea level rises with a look at action that people can take to protect it so it can continue to protect Newburyport and surrounding communities.

The program is open to the public, appropriate for all ages, and free to Mass Audubon’s members; the nonmember fee is $4. No preregistration required.

The Great Marsh covers the New England coast from Cape Ann to southeastern New Hampshire and includes saltwater marsh, islands, mudflats, dunes, sandy beaches, rivers and other water bodies.

The rich biodiversity the Great Marsh supports has earned it a designation as an Important Bird Area. Phippen and his colleagues monitor the Great Marsh and work on restoration projects, planting eelgrass and measuring erosion, among others so that it remains resilient.

Phippen has been roaming the Great Marsh since growing up in Essex. He has devoted his adult life to protecting, preserving and restoring the salt marsh.

Mass Audubon is the largest conservation organization in New England, caring for 34,000 acres of conservation land and providing education programs for 200,000 children and adults annually, according to a press release.

The Joppa Flats Education Center is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday and Monday holidays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 978-462-9998 for information about additional programs and events, or visit the website at


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