Responding to Sea Level Rise in Coastal Connecticut


Restoration of nearly 40 acres of salt marsh and other coastal habitats will help Great Meadows Marsh in Long Island Sound respond to sea level rise. The effort is supported by funding from three pollution cases in Connecticut.

Funding recovered from three pollution cases is supporting restoration of nearly 40 acres of salt marsh and other coastal habitats at Great Meadows Marsh. The marsh is located in the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge in Stratford, Connecticut. Through this effort, NOAA and partners are strengthening the climate resilience of this important coastal ecosystem.

Great Meadows Marsh lies immediately west of where the Housatonic River meets with Long Island Sound. Most other salt marshes in Connecticut, as well as many marshes along the Atlantic coast, were historically ditched to eliminate disease-carrying mosquitoes. Great Meadows Marsh, however, is home to the largest remaining expanse of unditched salt marsh in Connecticut. The unditched condition of this marsh provides a healthier and more functional habitat overall.

Salt marshes provide habitat for fish and wildlife, trap pollution, and reduce damage from storms and flooding—important benefits  for local communities. The Great Meadows Marsh restoration effort will provide important habitat for fish, including spawning and nursery habitat for forage fish like Atlantic silverside, mummichog, and Atlantic menhaden. It will also help build the ecological resilience of the marsh to respond to increasing sea level rise.