Seaside Sustainability collaborates with local, regional, and national partners to work on projects in the area of marine sciences. This collaboration between the general public and professionals in the fields of science is called "citizen science" and is something we aim to become a local leader. We are working on many different projects, including marine debris assessment, native and invasive species monitoring, and coastal cleanups. We are looking for interns and volunteers to assist in these efforts. 

Invasive Species Monitoring

Seaside Sustainability partnerships monitor the invasive species in and around the coastline of Cape Ann and beyond. This work is responsible for the mitigation of Green Crabs,  Asian Shore Crabs, Pepperweed, Phragmites, and many more invasives, with a common goal to restore the coastlines and highlight the diversity of the marsh.



Phragmites Australis is a non native grass that is present along the marsh of the North Shore. These plants will often grow very densely, blocking out sunlight that promotes the growth of native species. As these plants continue to be a problem, Seaside Sustainability is monitoring their populations on the North Shore to experiment with organic alternatives to the current methods of eradication. This initiative is used as a means of restoring the marsh, organically, safely, and responsibly.


 Green & Asian Shore Crab

As invasive species, it is important to measure the effects that the rise in this crabs population has on other marine animals. To conduct this study, Seaside Sustainability has set traps off the waters of the North Shore that are monitored periodically; where they record the number of crabs that are present in the water. This program also offers a chance for a sustainable economy by providing businesses with Green Crabs that they can use as a menu item, for a sustainable and local meal.

Pictured: Green Crab




Every Spring and Summer, Seaside Sustainability partners with local Audubon official, Liz Duff. This group survey’s islands and beaches around the North Shore to map and mitigate the invasive perrenial known as Pepperweed. To engage youth in citizen science, Liz’s students join us to map the coast from Essex to Marblehead, ensuring the Pepperweed population is under control. Through these efforts we strongly believe that the marsh can be restored.

Mudflat Acidification Testing

Seaside Sustainability partners with Salem Sound Coastwatch measure the effects that CO2 has on the mudflats that surround the North Shore.  SSCW Partner: Jack Nessen

Locations: Annisquam River @ Gloucester High School, Conomo Point, Essex, and Tucks Point & Masconomo Park, Manchester 


Water Quality Testing

Problem: Bacteria leaking from sewers and/or septic systems gets into the Salem Sound and Massachusetts Bay, exposing people to polluted waters. Stormwater runoff is a major source of pollution to Salem Sound.

Solution: The Clean Beaches and Streams Program monitors local stormwater outfall pipes and streams to find out if bacteria from leaking sewers or septic systems are getting into the Sound (results on bacterial testing are available from 2003 to 2017). Municipalities also play a major role in managing stormwater and new federal and state stormwater management requirements will soon be in place. Learn about the regulations and about stormwater utilities.


Marine Debris Trawls

Each year 1.4 billion pounds of plastic enter our ocean, some visible to us, and some not. Because of the ocean’s often hostile environment, plastics that enter the ocean don’t always stay intact, rather they break apart into smaller pieces that can be easily ingested by marine animals. Because of this, Seaside Sustainability is working to do extensive research on the prevalence these plastics exist in our local marine environment, hopefully gaining information that can be shared with the public for education and community awareness to prevent further problems from occurring.

Working under a NOAA grant and in collaboration with Umass Boston, Maine Lobster Foundation, and Cohasset Center for Coastal Research Studies, Seaside conducted 30+ trawls in Cape Ann and Salem Sound over the course of 2014-16. We plan to test different methods for identifying plastics, including putting a blacklight filter on a microscope, and evaporating much of the water so heavier materials are all that remain. 


Gloucester Harbor Fish Study

Because the North Shore has a rich marine ecosystem, as well as a marine dependent economy, it is important to study the ways in which this environment is being affected by human actions. Using a fish and line fishing practice, we are looking to find fish that may be ingesting pollutants. We examine the contents of these fishes stomachs in order to determine the risks that they are facing and determining the ways that they can be prevented.


Monofilament Collection

Casting out a line and reeling in a fish is the favorite activity of many anglers. Many of the lines that these anglers use require a monofilament, or plastic fishing line. When these lines break, they pose a threat to many marine plants and animals. Because Seaside Sustainability supports the discovery of the ocean, we want to make recreational fishing a more sustainable activity. To achieve this, we build small collection receptacles for fishing line, putting them on piers and docks around the city of Gloucester. The collected lines are sent to be recycled and turned into other plastic products.

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

~Nelson Mandela