DEEP: Tidal Wetland Restoration

Tidal Wetland Restoration

The Connecticut DEEP is a national leader in efforts to restore degraded tidal wetlands to healthy and productive ecosystems. The main causes of wetland degradation are activities such as draining, impounding water (impoundments for wildlife or millponds), filling, and undersized culverts. The passage of the Tidal Wetlands Act in 1969 arrested the loss of wetlands from dredging and filling activities; and the Connecticut Coastal Management Act in 1980 created a policy for the restoration of degraded tidal wetlands. The Department began the systematic restoration of degraded tidal wetlands 25 years ago. Restoration activities focus on reconnecting the wetlands to estuary (e.g., restoring tidal flow) and resetting the ecosystems on a trajectory to becoming a self-maintaining ecosystem through the removal of tide gates, installation of larger culverts and removal of fill.

In addition to tidal flow restoration, DEEP is evaluating techniques to the control the invasive and non-native subspecies of common reed, Phragmites australis, which are rapidly displacing native plant communities in brackish and tidal fresh wetlands. Common reed has been controlled on large tracts of wetlands especially the marshes of the lower Connecticut River.

Connecticut is the first state in the nation to establish a unit dedicated to wetland restoration and mosquito management. Through the efforts of the Wildlife Division, many of the state's tidal wetlands have been restored for the benefit of waterfowl, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent plants and animals. In addition, DEEP's Office of Long Island Sound Programs (OLISP) has a full-time coastal habitat restoration a position funded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Long Island Sound Office. This coordinator pursues funding for projects, and coordinates with other state, federal and non-profit organizations on the restoration of tidal wetlands as well as other critical coastal habitats such as dunes, grasslands and riverine migratory corridors for fish.

The DEEP, in conjunction with many project partners, has completed more than 70 tidal flow restoration projects (over 1700 acres). To learn more about tidal wetlands and wetland restoration, read Tidal Marshes of Long Island Sound.

For more information, please contact:

DEEP - Wildlife Division
391 Route 32
North Franklin, CT 06254
(860) 642- 7630

or

DEEP - Office of Long Island Sound Programs
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 424-3034