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Carver MA: 0 Purchase Street, 81R Purchase Street, 12-R Great Meadow Road, Map 55-1 (31 acres), Map 55-1-10 (7.74 acres), Map 55 -1B (solar 7 acres)

Middleboro MA: 290 Purchase Street (61 acres)

  • Owner:  Steven F. Ward. The bogs are known as Rocky Meadow Bogs. Ward bought 61 acres at 290 Middleboro Street from Rocky Meadow Farms in 2006-2008. This is about the time frame when Ward appeared before the Carver Earth Removal Committee to obtain permits. Rocky Meadow Farms LLC was formed in 2006 and dissolved in 2017. The manager was William F. Logan. “Logan” is referred to in the 8/25/2010 Carver Earth Removal Minutes for this site. Steven F. Ward is President of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association, a Board member of the Massachusetts Pesticide Board (appointed by the Governor), a member of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Board. The Farm Bureau Board reports he works for Sure-Cran Services which services 500 acres of bogs and that Ward owns 100 acres of bogs. The CCCGA site states Ward owns 57 acres of bogs in Middleboro and 6 in Carver. The site states Ward worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Administration (FSA) from 2008 to 2019 when he went to work for Sure-Cran Services. Sure-Cran has clear-cut 10 acres of forest and conducted earth removal in Wareham without a permit according to Save the Pine Barrens’ demand letter to the Wareham Selectboard. The FSA agency administers federal farm programs and provides financial assistance to farmers.

  • Volume of Earth Removed: Unknown

  • Permits: Yes. Carver Earth Removal Committee minutes of 8/25/2010 state Steve Ward “representing Rocky Meadow” asked for a permit to remove “20,000 cubic yards immediately” and to conduct a 5 year operation. The state “Logan will have 2 permits and 2 quarterly payments.” Further research is needed to obtain the permit(s). Minutes of 3/25/2009, 9/28/2011 and 4/25/2018 refer to site visits by the ERC to the “Ward” or “Rocky Meadow” project. The 2009 ERC minutes indicate the Rocky Meadow earth removal was active at that time. The ERC Permit and Fee list for 2014 to 2021, “Rocky Meadow Purchase Street” shows no fees paid by Rocky Meadow. Steven F. Ward’s father, Richard Ward, has served on the Earth Removal Committee since at least 2009 when Rocky Meadow Cranberry was doing earth removal and during the time the ERC was responsible for overseeing Steven F. Ward’s compliance with the Earth Removal Bylaw. 

  • Area Impacted: Various locations throughout the 203 acres of bogs and former upland. 

  • Claimed Reason for Mining: Cranberry agriculture.

  • Solar: Yes, 7 acre solar project on part of Ward’s land. The 7 acres were forested and then clear cut for solar. Google Earth Pro images below, before and after clearcutting for solar.

  • Aquifer: Yes mining in the aquifer to create two “farm” ponds for cranberry agriculture.

  • Wetlands: Yes. Wetlands and streams throughout the area. Rocky Meadow Brook flows through the mining locations. This Brook is Waters of the United States under the federal Clean Water Act according to the 2005 federal court decision involving the abutting area owned by Johnson Brothers Cranberries. Mining has been conducted in the aquifer at several locations throughout the site. Below: Site in 2001 showing wetland areas and forested land.

Below: Site in 2010, ponds being expanded.

Below: MassMapper MassDEP Wetlands types identified in green and blue, 2021. At the bottom right, the rectangle shows the Johnson Cranberry Ltd. bogs currently being operated by Johnson and Ryco Excavating. Piles of sand along the rectangular area were dredged from the aquifer. They are being stockpiled for the site.

Below: Site in 2012.  Active mining in groundwater where there was a wetland.

Below: The approximately 203 acre site as of June 2022. Johnson’s mining operation is visible in the lower right. The stockpiles are gone and the area is being expanded. A sand and gravel sorting and processing machine is visible in the bottom of the mining area.

  • Public Subsidies: Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, total grants $176,000 from 2019 to 2022 from Cranberry Revitalization Grant Program. The 2019 grant application for $52,500.00 to renovate 3.5 acres of bogs is here.

    • 2019: $52,500

    • 2020: $52,500

    • 2023: $71,000 - 2023 grant: replace 4.77 acres of vines, renovate bog

Ward’s 2019 grant application shows that in 2020 Ward paid Johnson Cranberries Ltd. $35,000.00 to purchase “bog sand.”  Johnson Cranberries is illegally mining adjacent to Ward’s bogs on Purchase Street. Johnson’s mining operation is an egregious abuse of the agricultural and earth removal laws. 

Below: Check from Steven F. Ward and Pauline M. Ward to Johnson Cranberries Ltd. for $35,000.00 to purchase sand to renovate 3.5 acres of bogs in Carver. Document obtained via a Public Records Request to the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture, 2021.

Further research is needed to obtain information on the 2020-2023 Cranberry Bog Renovation grants to Steven F. Ward.

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