Coastal Plain Pond, General

South Ponds Preserve in Plymouth: People & Nature In Harmony

South Ponds Preserve coalition seeks management plan for recreation and protection of water quality, ecosystem

August 5, 2022: Report Released:

South Ponds Preserve: Conservation Status and Future Stewardship

prepared by MassAudubon Ecological Extension Service

for South Ponds Preserve

After over two years of research and collaboration with stakeholders, the South Ponds Preserve coalition released its report. This is a starting point and framework for building community support for long term stewardship of the South Ponds Preserve area. It is a model for other Coastal Plain Ponds in Plymouth. We invite all feedback and participation. Email comments to

We thank everyone for their thoughtful participation and feedback so far. We look forward to engaging more community members!


Abutting Myles Standish State Forest in Plymouth is a unique complex of forests and ponds, a coastal pine barrens. Four major conservation projects over the last 30 years have helped to preserve the area. Private homes are located throughout. Public access is provided via trail networks. The lands include the Town Forest and Eel River Preserve (see more on Living Observatory) and preserves owned by Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Mass including the Crawley Woodlands Preserve on Billington Sea.

The area is under threat. The Town Forest located at the northern edge is facing challenges with increased public use. The Town Forest is governed by a Conservation Restriction held by the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW).

Our coalition seeks to maintain the area’s ecological integrity while supporting educational and recreational opportunities. Current challenges include illegal public use in areas meant only for hiking and fishing, resulting in trash, illegal fires, and use of the beach as a bathroom.

July 2020: Little South Pond, Town Forest parking area being used as a toilet and dump. This pond is part of the Town’s back up water supply and a rare species habitat.
July, 2020: Little South Pond, Town Forest, Drew Road parking area, rare mussels destroyed

Join our effort to find out more!

Learn about the unique plants Plymouth’s South Pond complex including Great South Pond and Little South Pond on the website of Saliciola. Search for plant names like New England Boneset and Plymouth Gentian!

July 2022 Report: Concerned residents are cleaning up the beach and trying to prevent a public health hazard, contamination of the water, and biodiversity destruction.

The Town & State are proposing to expand parking in the Town Forest on Little South Pond. This will make the problems worse!

We urge the Town and DFW to NOT weaken the conservation restriction on the Town Forest until there is a management plan!

Contact the Plymouth Selectboard to ask them to NOT SIGN the amendment to the Town Forest Conservation Restriction until a better management plan is in place.

Below: Proposed amendment to the Town Forest Conservation Restriction, July 2022

Below: Town of Plymouth Order of Conditions, June 15, 2022 issued by Conservation Commission allowing the expansion of the parking area in the Town Forest on Rocky Pond Road.

Below: 2022 State DFW NHESP Letter to the Town under the Mass Endangered Species Act: Claims expanding parking and public access won’t harm threatened and endangered species, May 15, 2022

Below: February 6, 2020: DFW letter to Town of Plymouth describing “negative impacts to the shoreline habitat, excessive littering and the concern for possible escaped illegal fires.” THINGS HAVE GOTTEN WORSE in the last 2 years, not better — and yet the state wants to loosen the CR!

The Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) baseline report on by Mass Audubon in 2008 is here.

Letter DFW to Town about need to comply with Conservation Restriction for Town Forest.