Wetlands aren’t mines! Claims by cranberry industry that mining in wetlands is exempt from state Wetlands Protection Act and local bylaws goes unchallenged — until now!

Feb. 25, 2022 Foley Farms, 105 Rochester Road, silt flowing 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.”

We are fighting to enforce the state’s Wetlands Protection Act to prevent sand mining from destroying our rivers. In most towns the law is being broken and conservation commissions let big mining operations claim and “agricultural exemption” from the wetlands laws.

Forests are being clearcut and silt is running off into the rivers. This drone footage of Foley Farms shows silt from a mining operation running off into the Weweantic River. To date, MassDEP has taken no action except to request “erosion control” measures.

What is happening to our rivers, wetlands and Sole Source Aquifer?

Industrial sand mining in wetlands violates the law and destroys our environment. Yet, local commissions and boards ignore wetlands laws and readily grant “agricultural exemptions” for mining operations.

Save the Pine Barrens is challenging these claims by mining companies that they are exempt from state and local wetlands laws.


Cedar Meadow Cranberry: E.J. Pontiff Cranberry/Susan Meharg

Strip Mine & Solar & Cranberry Bog?

0 Rear Ward Street, Map 120, Lot 5

Borrego Solar planning a ground mounted system

Filed subdivision plans – April 2022

In 2021, the Carver Earth Removal Committee gave Pontiff a permit to mine in the last remnant of a rare Atlantic Cedar Swamp. This is BioMap 2 Critical Natural Landscape and near an Estimated Habitat of Rare Species in the area. The Ten Residents appeal is here:

Pontiff has an ongoing strip mining operation in South Plymouth near White Island Pond. This is over 836,186 cubic yards ($9 million) in sand and gravel being done under the ruse of a tail water recovery pond for cranberries. The Plymouth ZBA issued a strip mine permit in 2018 and renewed it for another 3 years in February 2021 without a public hearing. In 2023, Save the Pine Barrens challenged the operation and the Plymouth ZBA found no violations — of course. Read more here.

2021: After: Pontiff’s ongoing strip mine on Big Sandy Pond in Plymouth. Plymouth ZBA granted permit extension in 2021 without a public hearing

# 2  Foley Farms, Jabez Bridge Road, Carver 


A cover for $1 million in sand & gravel; Carver Conservation Commission refuses to stop project & Ten Residents appeal to state DEP who refuses to act.

Posing as a blueberry and cranberry farm, industrial mining company Foley Farms is expanding its mining operation by digging into a pond and expanding it to extract sand and gravel. In 2020, the Carver Earth Removal Committee gave a permit for a big strip mine that covered the neighborhood with dangerous silica sand. In 2021, the Earth Removal Committee gave a second permit to expand for another 40,000 cubic yards. The Conservation Commission gave an illegal waiver in 2021. Save the Pine Barrens appealed the Conservation Commission’s failure to do its job. See the appeal here. MassDEP sided with the mining industry again, allowing the operation to continue under the ruse of agriculture. This project is right on the Weweantic River.

Feb. 24 & 25, 2022: Foley polluting the Weweantic River with silt from mining & logging forest with no known logging plan

Pollution of Weweantic River from Foley mining operation 105 Rochester Road, Carver. No erosion control measures in place. Feb. 24, 2022

February 24, 2022: Foley Farms fake agricultural operation. Forest clearcut, Map 96, Lot 10. Drone footage by Highwinds.
This is industrial mining, not a “farm” and is not exempt from the Wetlands Protection Act
Feb. 24, 2022: Weweantic River downstream from Foley’s mining operation on Jabez Bridge Road/105 Rochester Road