Location: East Lyme, CT
Anchor Site(s): Pattagansett Marshes Preserve
About the Site: This 52-acre property, owned by The Nature Conservancy and the Old Black Point Association, supports a high diversity of plants and animals due to its diverse habitats and coastal location at the mouth of the Pattagansett River. Habitats at this site include a saltwater marsh-estuarine system, a xeric (dry) coastal forest and shrubland, primary dune and beach, and rocky outcrops. An adjacent marsh, beach and uplands, which is owned by the Old Black Point Association protected by The Nature Conservancy through conservation easements, prevents further development within this fragile estuarine-barrier beach complex.
- Provides important habitat especially for breeding, migrating and overwintering waterfowl. The area supports the American black duck, a state-designated species of Greatest Conservation Need.
- The site has the highest dunes in Connecticut and supports one of the best maritime salt-spray pruned scrub woodlands in the state.
- The shallow tidal marsh-estuarine systems of the Pattagansett Marsh provide excellent spawning and nursery grounds for the Atlantic silverside. This small fish plays a big role in the important transfer of energy from tidal marsh systems to the open Sound where they are consumed by predators like striped bass and bluefish.
- The coastal forest at this site was once common along the entire Connecticut coast. At Pattagansett the forest is dominated by white and black oak as well as sassafras. Other species include mockernut hickory, black cherry and scarlet oak.
- Rocky Neck State Park, a Long Island Sound Stewardship Area, is a 10-minute from the Pattagansett Marshes and provides a variety of coastal habitats to explore including sandy beach, rocky shorefront, saltmarsh and miles of trails through a coastal forest.
- Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve encompasses approximately 400 acres of varied and rugged terrain including Clark’s Pond and the nearby Niantic River. Use the link to download a map describing miles of hiking trails.
- In order to protect fragile habitats of the Pattagansett Marshes and Watts Island Preserve, this site is not accessible to the public.
- An Ecological Inventory of Pattagansett Marshes Preserve, East Lyme, CT. By Evan Griswold, et al. November 1975. Prepared for The Nature Conservancy of Connecticut
Reproduction, Growth and Feeding Habits of Menidia menidia (Atherineidae) in a Tidal Marsh-Estuarine System of Southern New England. Keneth M. Cadigan and Paul E. Fell (in Copeia, Vol. 1985, No. 1; February 1985
Development of a tidal marsh in a New England River Valley. Orson, R.A., R. S. Warren and W.A. Niering. In Estuaries 10: 20-27. (March 1987).
Return to the main Stewardship page