This site includes a seventeen-acre rocky island covered with grassy and
herbaceous vegetation (owned by the American Museum of Natural
History), and the surrounding marine waters, including a deepwater
channel known as ?The Race.? The Race hosts large concentrations
of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), tautog
(Tautoga onitis), and summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus). It is also
a major migration corridor for striped bass and supports a regionally
significant commercial lobster (Homarus americanus) fishery.
This is one of the most important tern nesting sites in the world, with
the largest breeding colony of Roseate Terns in North America (1,500
pairs in 1996; 45% of the northeast North American population) and
one of the largest colonies of Common Terns as well (8,000 pairs in
1995, 7,750 in 1996; 40-45% of the state population). The numbers of
terns during the years 2000-2004 continued to be about 10,000 Common
Tern nests and roughly 1,600 Roseate Tern nests annually.
Waterbirds Mixed species Has well exceeded threshold (100 ind.) over past ten years.
This site is listed in the 2002 Open Space Conservation Plan as a
priority site under the project name Long Island Sound Coastal Area.
Oil spills are a potential threat to this area. A long-term research
project managed by staff from the American Museum of Natural
History involves the demography and life history of terns. During the
first round of IBA site identifications, this site was recognized under
the research criterion because of the research being performed there.