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Chimon and Sheffield Islands (part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge)
Chimon and Sheffield Islands are the two largest of approximately 25 islands that comprise the Norwalk Islands. In 1980 an investigative visit by Milan Bull (Senior Director of Science and Conservation, Connecticut Audubon Society) revealed that 68-acre Chimon, undeveloped and scarcely visited by humans, was the largest heronry in Long Island Sound. Substantial conservation efforts unfolded to protect the thousands of herons, egrets, and gulls that depended on the island, now owned by the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife like raccoon and deer have negatively impacted the heronry over the years. However, with ongoing management of the islands, it is hoped that the birds will continue to feed, rest, and nest there. A small beach area is open to the public for passive recreation.
Like Chimon, the 67-acre Sheffield Island Unit of the Stewart B. McKinney Wildlife Refuge has visitor areas open to the public. The island also includes a lighthouse, which is owned and maintained by the Norwalk Seaport Association. The association’s ferry brings passengers to the island every summer and fall, where families and friends can picnic, play games, enjoy a tour of the lighthouse, go swimming, and appreciate its beautiful nature trail and viewing area.
The other large Norwalk islands include Shea, owned by the City of Norwalk, and Cockenoe, an important waterbird nesting site owned by the Town of Westport. Smaller islands, like Goose, support nesting cormorants, gulls and horseshoe crabs.
Watch staff from US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge Unit coordinate a volunteer day to remove invasive species and clear the trail at Sheffield Island.
Norwalk River Watershed Association
The Norwalk River Watershed Association (NRWA) web page is a top resource for historical and current details on the Norwalk area. It features an up-to-date events calendar, volunteer information, guided hiking tours, useful links, and much more.
Salt Marsh Trends in Selected Estuaries in Southwestern CT
This document by US Fish and Wildlife Service details salt marsh trends in estuaries including Canfield Island Cove, directly adjacent to Calf Pasture Beach and Veterans Park. The study tracks the changes in high marsh, low marsh, and tidal flats in six study areas over the years 1974-2004. Charts and aerial photographs make clear the impact of rising sea levels on these invaluable habitats.
Sheffield Island Lighthouse History
The New England Lighthouse Association provides a history of the Sheffield Island Lighthouse, including the beginnings of its unique lighting system to its modern solar-powered light. Learn more about the different keepers who have maintained this historical landmark over the years.