Connecticut conservation sees upswing

A recent restoration leads to new opportunities in coming years.

Crews restoring Del Reeves Marsh in central Connecticut

Crews restoring Del Reeves Marsh in central Connecticut

Ducks Unlimited habitat partnership projects are growing in Connecticut, with a recent restoration leading to new conservation opportunities in coming years.

In November, Ducks Unlimited completed the restoration of Del Reeves Marsh, a 25-acre freshwater emergent marsh that is part of Meshomasic State Forest in the central part of the state. The project was in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CDEEP) and the North American Wetland Conservation Act, and is part of a larger conservation effort to restore and protect 2,175 acres of critical wetland habitat the coastal boundary area of Connecticut.

At Del Reeves, new infrastructure will provide healthy freshwater wetland habitat for waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds. The restoration benefits nesting and migration habitat for American black ducks and mallards. This inland impoundment provides essential habitat for numerous rare birds and other wildlife and forms an extensive biological corridor of forested wetland, emergent marshes and upland habitat.

People will benefit too. The project allows for public access for a variety of wildlife related activities, such as hunting, bird watching, hiking and environmental education.

The Del Reeves project was a catalyst for future work in Connecticut. Ducks Unlimited has entered into a $300,000 agreement with CDEEP to enhance several sites over the next three years. Many of the state-managed marshes have failing water-control structures, leaving managers without the proper tools to create healthy wetland habitat. The agreement will enable Ducks Unlimited to replace infrastructure at a handful of sites, improving migration habitat for waterfowl.

 “We are very excited about our new wetland restoration opportunities,” said Sarah Fleming, Ducks Unlimited manager of conservation programs for the North Atlantic. “CDEEP continues to be an excellent partner and our new agreement will ensure we maximize recreational opportunities with improved habitat for wildlife.”