900 acres of the tidal marsh is owned by the State of Connecticut and managed by the Department of Environmental Protection as a Wildlife Management Area; 14 additional acres are owned by the Hamden Land Trust. The Quinnipiac River originates in the Deadwood Swamp on the New Britain/Farmington border, and flows 38 miles to New Haven Harbor. The tidal salt marsh is south of Sackett Point Road, North Haven, and is influenced by the daily rise and fall of the tide. The marsh is adjacent to a large urban area and lies in the towns of North Haven, New Haven, and Hamden. It is bordered by railroad tracks/yards, major streets, shopping malls, five landfills, junkyards, and industrially contaminated sites. Lack of public access has hampered public awareness and advocacy for the marsh. Phragmites is a significant problem.

Ornithological Summary

The marsh serves as a significant population of nesting Osprey (10 pairs), significant wintering area for Northern Harrier (3-4 birds), and one of few known nesting locations for Common Moorhen and Least Bittern in Connecticut. The marsh is a nesting and wintering area for American Black Ducks, and a nesting area for Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow (unknown size of population). The marsh has been a significant roosting area for mixed flocks of blackbirds in the spring and fall migrations, including Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles.

Conservation Issues

There is significant Phragmites encroachment into the marsh systems, and the Connecticut DEP and Ducks Unlimited are cooperatively restoring areas of the marsh by controlling Phragmites, plugging several mosquito ditches and excavating shallow pools to restore open water habitat and improve tidal flow. The Quinnipiac River Watershed Partnership was formed in 1999 to work to restore and improve the Quinnipiac River Watershed, and includes representation from the Quinnipiac River Watershed Association, the CT DEP, US EPA and local partners. There is a Tidal Marsh Working Group subcommittee of the Quinnipiac River Watershed Partnership, which focuses on the estuarine salt marsh. The New Haven Bird club coordinates several bird monitoring programs in the marsh, including Christmas and Summer Bird Counts, Osprey monitoring and CT DEP wetland callback surveys.

Serious – Pollution, development, invasive or non-native


State of Connecticut.


Primary: Brackish Tidal Marsh.

Land Use

Primary: Hunting/fishing, nature and wildlife conservation. Secondary: Urban/commercial.

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