Case Study

Stratford, CT

Restoration of the Great Meadows Marsh

This project restored 46 acres of the Great Meadows Marsh in Connecticut that was degraded from dredge material that was dumped on site, poor drainage, and sea level rise. The marsh was also overrun with invasive plants and mosquitoes. A controlled fire was started to kill the invasive reeds growing in the marsh. Then a construction crew removed invasive plants and the dumped dredge material. Lastly, channels were carefully dug for tidal flushing which will allow the marsh to keep pace with sea level rise. Soil hummocks were constructed for Salt Marsh Sparrow habitat. Now the area continues to be monitored, assessed for resiliency, and provides a field for innovative solutions to be tested in.


Trustees: USFWS, NOAA, State of Connecticut; Project Partners: Audubon Connecticut, Town of Stratford

A barren marsh with ponding in the center and a blue sky with clouds above.
During restoration. Credit: Molly Sperduto, USFWS
Under construction. Credit: Molly Sperduto, USFWS
Staff, volunteers, and stewards planting grasses together. Credit: Sarah Shearer, USFWS
Post-restoration view from platform, 2023. Credit: Molly Sperduto, USFWS
Restored area west of hummocks. Credit: Molly Sperduto, USFWS
Study Type: Project
Impact Information:
Monitoring immediately following the restoration revealed at least 12 saltmarsh sparrows returned to their annual nesting areas near the experimental hummocks, despite the disruptive activities taking place earlier in the year. University students will survey vegetation on the hummocks and throughout the restoration area, measuring and counting individual plants to see how different species grow at different elevations and in different types of soil, and to determine if additional plantings are needed. Audubon Connecticut will manage and control invasive plant species across the restoration area for three years, periodically removing and chemically treating the ever-persistent common reed. The project team will also monitor saltwater flooding of the marsh and carve runnels (short channels), if needed, to connect more areas to saltwater.
Period of Completion: 2020-2022 (with monitoring and adaptive management through 2026)
Total Cost: $4.65M (Design, Implementation)
Funding Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Long Island Sound Study), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the Interior), Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Trustees (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection), The Nature Conservancy, Robert F. Schumann Foundation, Jeniam Foundation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Athletic Brewing Company
Permits Needed: (1) CT DEEP Certificate of Permission – this included a Natural Diversity Database State-listed Species Review; (2) CT DEEP Flood Management Certification Approval; (3) ACOE – CT General Permits
Contact Info:

Molly Sperduto at;

Corrie Folsom-O’Keefe;

Jack Matthias

Nature-based Solutions
Sea Level Rise
Recreation & Access
Community Engagement
Open Resource

Resilience Steps


EPA Sea Grant New York Sea Grant Connecticut