Sunken Meadow Restoration

Volunteers at the Sunken Meadow planting in June 2016.

Sunken Meadow State Park includes tidal marshes, estuaries, dunes, coastal forest, and three miles of Long Island Sound beachfront. For decades, a man-made earthen berm blocked tidal flow from over 135 acres of marsh, causing the marsh habitat and water quality to deteriorate.

In 2019, Save the Sound and partner organizations completed an ambitious restoration plan first outlined in 2008, which included:

  • barrier removal of the earthen berm to restore tidal reconnection to marsh habitat;
  • retrofitting a 16.6-acre parking lot with green infrastructure techniques;
  • restoring 4.32 acres of salt marsh, aided by volunteer planting of the area with native plants;
  • an analysis of fish-passage potential in Sunken Meadow Creek; and
  • a multi-year outreach/education program for the 3+ million annual Park visitors.
Sunken Meadow State Park’s parking lots after green infrastructure retrofit, with restored marsh behind.

The Sunken Meadow project makes the park’s shoreline more resilient to waves and flooding, improves water quality in Sunken Meadow Creek and the Nissequogue River by reducing runoff from parking lots, and restores habitat for fish and wildlife.

Learn more about the project’s goals: Part 1, Part 2

See how volunteers have braved the mud and sun to restore acres of salt marsh in 2015 and 2016, how the education program reached park visitors, and how we transformed acres of parking lot.

Want to join in? Visit our Volunteering page to learn more.


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Wednesday, April 8, 12:00 p.m.
Webinar: Reducing Runoff, One Rain Garden at a Time With 16 rain gardens planted just in 2019, we’re tackling runoff one neighborhood at a time. Hear from our Mill River Watershed Coordinator, Nicole Davis, about what you can do to protect your clean water right from your backyard!

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