Important Bird Areas

Accabonac Harbor

New York

Accabonac Harbor is one of the major undeveloped coastal wetland
ecosystems on Long Island. It includes a shallow open water bay
surrounded by extensive salt marshes, sand spits, spoil disposal areas,
and small wooded islands. The harbor is surrounded by undeveloped
woodlands, except for a residential development to the north. Bay
scallops and hard clams are abundant in the harbor, which supports a
regionally important recreational shellfishery. The harbor also serves
as a nursery and feeding area for a variety of estuarine fish species. The
Town of East Hampton owns the harbor and part of the shoreline; the
rest is held by private landowners and The Nature Conservancy.

Ornithological Summary

Waterfowl wintering here in 1995 included Canada Geese (3,035),
White-winged Scoters (238), Long-tailed Ducks (119), and Redbreasted
Mergansers (129). The site supports at-risk species including
the Osprey (breeds, and breeders from surrounding area feed here),
Northern Harrier (winters), Piping Plover (breeds), Least Tern
(breeds), Short-eared Owl (winters), Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
(breeds), and Seaside Sparrow (breeds).

Conservation Issues

This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a
priority site under the project name Peconic Pinelands Maritime
Reserve Project. Water pollution, chemical contamination, oil spills,
and sewage or storm-water runoff, will adversely affect the site?s
biological productivity. Activities that could lead to these problems
should be prevented. Construction and maintenance of shoreline
structures, including docks, piers, and bulkheads, should be avoided
in undisturbed areas. Elimination of salt marsh and intertidal areas
through excavation or filling could decrease available habitat for
salt marsh breeding birds and should be prevented. Nesting Piping
Plovers and Least Terns are highly susceptible to human disturbance
and recreational activities near nesting areas, including boat landing,
off-road vehicle use, and picnicking, should be minimized from April
through mid-August. Fencing, beach closures, posting, beach warden
patrols, and public education may be required in some areas. Monitoring
of at-risk species and waterfowl numbers should continue.
? Marie Read