• Atlantic Ocean beach at Cape Cod National Seashore

    Cape Cod

    National Seashore Massachusetts

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  • Access at seashore locations

    Sections of the boardwalk at the Red Maple Swamp Trail have been closed due to structural deterioration and safety concerns. Check at Salt Pond Visitor Center for the current status of this trail, and for your safety, remain out of closed areas.

Other New England dieback sites

Connecticut vs. Cape Cod dieback

Areas of vegetation loss in Connecticut (left-side) vs. Cape Cod (right-side) (photos by Smith, NPS)

While extensive areas of high marsh dieback have not yet been discovered outside of Cape Cod, low marsh losses have occurred at numerous sites in Connecticut and Long Island, NY.

The patterns of loss are visually identical to those on Cape Cod that we now know to be the result of Sesarma crab herbivory (studies led by Dr. Mark Bertness).

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Sesarma crab in CT marsh
Sesarma reticulatum (purple marsh crabs) were easy to find at this Connecticut marsh dieback site in May 2008 (Neck River, Madison) (photo by Smith, NPS).  Could these crabs also be responsible for vegetation losses at other sites along the southern New England coast?

Did You Know?

Carns Site archeology dig, Eastham, MA

In 1990, an intense series of storms uncovered a prehistoric site on Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, MA. Archaeologists excavated the Carns Site, which was lived in by native peoples during the Early and Middle Woodland period, or approximately 2,100 to 1,100 years ago.