Inspired by Nature
Respect for the environment guides everything we do at A.D. Makepeace. What does that mean? Here are some examples.
We are supporting the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in groundbreaking climate change research by offering up our Century Bog as a test site for the scientists’ analysis. We also hosted a climate change workshop sponsored by Manomet. In the photo at right, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan greets A.D. Makepeace President Mike Hogan. David Bryant from the Trustees of Reservations (r), Commissioner Mary Griffin from the Massachusetts Deptartment of Fish and Game and Jack Buckley from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (l) look on.
Makepeace assisted the state Division of Marine Fisheries in building and installing an eel ladder at the Wankinco Dam. The dam, where Makepeace already maintains a herring ladder, prevents elvers, or baby eel, from accessing Parker Mills Pond. To get upstream, the eel required a gently sloping tube with a trickle of water and a carpet-like surface. After several attempts to get it right, the Makepeace and Marine Fisheries team were rewarded by the discovery of hundreds of elvers in a box submerged on beside the dam. They were counted by wildlife professionals for research purposes, then released into Parker Mill Pond.
Makepeace employees recently removed a dam on Red Brook, in support of the Trustees of Reservations’ plan to restore the native brook trout habitat there. Red Brook, which runs along the Wareham/Plymouth line and empties into Buttermilk Bay on southern Cape Cod, is home to one of the last remaining U.S. populations of “salters,” a type of brook trout which spends a portion of its life in the sea. We believe the brook will sustain a larger population of “salters” when it is restored. Makepeace owns a bog system north of the Trustees’ land at the headwaters of White Island Pond. Click here for more information.
Makepeace erected and maintains some 200 bluebird boxes designed to house the eastern bluebird, a species whose population is surging due to the provision of artificial nesting spaces like the ones Makepeace installed. The grassy area typically found between the pine forest and the cranberry bog provides an ideal habitat for these colorful songbirds.
Makepeace installed and maintains platforms for osprey nests along utility easements through the company’s property. Attracted to the area by the prevalence of river herring and alewives, osprey would nest on utility poles if left to their own devices, posing a danger to themselves as well as local electric service. The platforms allow construction of larger, sturdier nests which, according to the National Wildlife Federation, can weigh as much as a half a ton and be as large as a piano. Careful placement of the nesting platforms can protect the osprey, sometimes known as fish hawks, and their young against their natural enemy, the great horned owl. Learn more about osprey from the National Wildlife Federation.
Makepeace utilizes propane fuel in its picking machines and most sprinkler pumps. Tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency show that propane-fueled vehicles produce 30 percent to 90 percent less carbon monoxide and about 50 percent fewer toxins and other smog-producing emissions than gasoline engines. Propane also is nontoxic, so it’s not harmful to soil or water. Given that the picking machines are used in water, the danger of a gasoline spill spreading through the wetlands system is high. Liquid propane vaporizes when it is exposed to air, eliminating the threat of a spill. In addition, the company uses food-grade hydraulic oil as a lubricant in the machines, and all machines, as well as all loading equipment and pickup trucks used during harvest, are equipped with a containment boom to quickly prevent the spread of a spill.
Makepeace built and maintains six herring ladders, providing spawning herring access to Tihonet Pond in Wareham, and White Island Pond and Halfway Pond in Plymouth. Herring, which are food for striped bass and bluefish, are anadromous, meaning they live in the sea but must enter fresh water rivers and streams to spawn. They return each year to the waterway in which they were hatched. Their journey upstream in the spring is facilitated by ladders built to help them circumvent waterfalls or other obstructions.
This year Makepeace is transitioning to a fully organic turf maintenance program at its corporate headquarters and at the Crane Landing conservation subdivision, both in Wareham. In addition to using organic fertilizer, the company will apply no chemical weed or insect control on its landscaped lawns. The company’s headquarters campus comprises some five acres of managed landscape on the shores of Tihonet Pond.
After meeting with residents of the Halfway Pond area, Makepeace is exploring ways to control algae blooms which periodically occur in the area. The bright blue blooms seem to be exacerbated by phosphorous content in the water. This year, the company is experimenting with organic fertilizer on one bog and will work with the residents to determine whether there is a benefit.