Wetlands aren’t mines!

  CLwpBS  agricultural exemption

Mining companies claim they are exempt from wetlands laws as “agriculture”

These “cranberry bog” and “farm projects” are a ruse to evade wetland and water pollution laws

Groups go to court to challenge mining operations

Below: Silt running off a mining operation in Carver, Massachusetts from a mining project. The mining company claims this is agriculture. The “farm” plans were done by Grady Consulting. They did not provide for erosion control resulting in this pollution of the Weweantic River. The project was never a legitimate “farm” project but an industrial scale sand mine.

Photos above and below: Feb. 25, 2022 Foley Farms sand and gravel mining operation, 105 Rochester Road.
The unregulated sand mine cause silt and sand to wash out into Weweantic River.
Foley Farms runoff from mining operation Feb 25 2022, 105 Rochester Road, Carver MA

Industrial scale sand mining is devastating Southeastern Massachusetts. Vast deposits of globally rare “silica” sand laid down by the glacier are being stripped off for commercial sale.

Often this is under the ruse of a cranberry bog project.

Up to a dozen mining operators are mining in groundwater or have mined into the ground water and filled it it, covering it with “cranberry bogs” or “solar projects.”

February 2022: STPB lawyers challenge Carver Conservation Commission claim that mining in wetlands are exempt from the law. Watch the video here. Carver Conservation Commission public hearing February 16, 2022.

Below: locations where the Town of Carver and the state allow mining in wetlands in violation of the law

Read more below about 3 mining sites where the Town of Carver and the state allow mining in wetlands


North Weston Cranberry Co., Carver

Owners: Eric & Elaine Weston

  Value of sand mined from wetlands: $1.2 million

In 2021, the Carver Earth Removal Committee permitted this project based on 10 year old plans. The Westons claim this is an exempt agricultural operation. They never applied to the Conservation Commission. Elaine Weston was the secretary for the Earth Removal Committee for years and was responsible for all the records and permits. As of 2024, she is the interim Town Manager.

Eric and Elaine Weston own bogs and are related to Gary Weston, owner of the land being leased for the Carver Battery Bomb site off Craig Street.

Read the STPB wetlands appeal here.

#2 Cedar Meadow Cranberry Co., Carver

Owner: E.J. Pontiff of Duxbury MA

Location: 0 Rear Ward Street, Map 120, Lot 5

In 2021, the Carver Earth Removal Committee (ERC) gave EJ Pontiff a permit to mine in the last remnant of a rare Atlantic Cedar Swamp off Ward Street for about 120,000 cubic yards worth $1 million. This is BioMap 2 Critical Natural Landscape and near an Estimated Habitat of Rare Species in the area.

In 2024, the ERC gave Pontiff another permit for more mining — for 1.5 million cubic yards worth about $15 million in revenue. Read more here. The Carver Conservation Commission signed off on that too. Read more here:

Read more about Pontiff’s extensive mining operations on Firehouse Road in South Plymouth here. Pontiff has mined throughout Plymouth: read more here in the Sand Wars report.

The Ten Residents appeal in 2022 of the Ward Street mine is here:

At this site Borrego Solar is planning a ground mounted system. They filed subdivision plans in April 2022. This is another example of how sand mining and industrial solar go hand in hand.

# 3  Foley Farms

Location: Jabez Bridge Road, Carver

“Blueberry Farm” used as a ruse for mining

Carver ERC grants 2 permits for land recently owned by former ERC member Shurtleff

Blueberries can grow on a hillside: no need to mine a huge hill to “farm” !

Mining causes erosion and pollution of Weweantic River

Residents appeal, Town Conservation Commission, state DEP refuse to act

Posing as a blueberry and cranberry farm, Foley Farms and Ryco Excavating conducted a massive mining operation from 2020 to at least 2023. Read more here in the Sand Wars Report.

February 24, 2022: Foley Farms/ Ryco mining operation under the ruse of agriculture. Forest clearcut, Map 96, Lot 10. Drone footage by Highwinds.
  • Foley bought the land from John Shurtleff III, a former member of the Earth Removal Commitee. Shurtleff is in the trucking business. He hauls sand for companies like AD Makepeace Cranberry.
  • Foley and Ryco excavated into a pond to extract sand and gravel.
  • Grady Consulting, a company that works for many sand mining companies, did the plans for this “farm.”
  • Grady Consulting fails to prevent erosion, runoff and pollution of the River at this site
  • The Carver Earth Removal Committee issued the first earth removal permit for the Foley Farms site in 2020, shortly after it was sold to Foley. The mining leveled a hill and covered the neighborhood with dangerous silica sand. Neighbors came to the ERC meetings and complained but the dust, noise and vibration continued.
  • In 2021, the Earth Removal Committee gave a second permit to expand the mine. This was for 40,000 cubic yards.
  • The Conservation Commission gave an illegal waiver from the wetlands law in 2021. Save the Pine Barrens appealed the Conservation Commission’s refusal to enforce the wetlands law to DEP. DEP sided with the mining company, Ryco Excavating and Foley. See the appeal here
Above: Pollution of Weweantic River from Foley mining operation 105 Rochester Road, Carver. No erosion control measures in place. Feb. 24, 2022
Feb. 24, 2022: Weweantic River downstream from Foley’s mining operation on Jabez Bridge Road/105 Rochester Road

Location of Foley Farms-Ryco Mining Operation, Carver MA

This is industrial mining, not a “farm” and is not exempt from the Wetlands Protection Act

1 thought on “Wetlands aren’t mines!

  1. […] Town Wide: Conservation Commission wants to throw out Rules and Regulations for Wetlands Protection. These rules protect our drinking water, wildlife and should be used to prevent mining in the aquifer–a common occurrence. […]

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