Hammonasset Beach State Park Salt Marsh Restoration and Community Events

Hammonasset Beach State Park is a 936-acre ecological and recreational treasure located along the coast in Madison. With more than three million visitors every year, it is the most-visited park in the state. Birds that nest around the park in spring and summer include the Saltmarsh Sparrow, Piping Plover, and Purple Martin.

One essential habitat feature at Hammonasset is its salt marsh, an area of coastal wetland that is flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tides. Salt marshes protect our coastline and coastal communities from increased flooding due to climate-related sea level rise and serve as an important habitat for native species.

Exciting news! Audubon has received funding to kickstart a major salt marsh restoration project at Hammonasset, beginning with planning and designing a living shoreline to help keep the coast healthy and resilient. Learn about the project by visiting our table during one of our Salt Marsh Days.

You’re Invited: Saturday "Salt Marsh Days"

Audubon Connecticut and Hammonasset’s Meigs Point Nature Center invite you to celebrate the park’s unique ecosystem and all its inhabitants at our Salt Marsh Days. Each day features a different theme, and includes presentations about native species, marsh visits to  learn about this incredibly valuable habitat, and educational activities for all ages! 

Salt Marsh Days are free to attend (and park entry is free to Connecticut residents). No registration is required. Events run throughout the day from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

For questions, please contact Meigs Point Nature Center at or call 203-245-8743.

Saturday, June 29 – Diamondback Terrapin Day
Diamondback Terrapin turtles depend on healthy marshes to for food . With salt marshes in decline, so are these incredible turtles. In 2015, the diamondback terrapin was listed as a state species of special concern under Connecticut's Endangered Species Act. Diamondback Terrapins are the only species of turtle in North America to spend their lives in brackish water (less salty than sea water). Details here.

Saturday, July 13 – Fish of the Marsh Day
The brackish marshes, coastal and riverine waters of Hammonasset provide valuable habitat for fish species. Forage fish like Atlantic Silversides can be found in the marshes at high tide, and the waters in and around the park are designated as Essential Fish Habitat for Pollock, Red Hake, and more. 

Saturday, July 27 – Birds of the Marsh Day
Birds of the Marsh Day will highlight unique stories like that of the Saltmarsh Sparrow, a native species that is declining by 9% per year. Hammonasset’s eastern shoreline has lost 27 acres of salt marsh since 1934, threatening the Saltmarsh Sparrow’s ability to nest and fledge young. Come learn about how Audubon’s upcoming restoration work could help protect the Saltmarsh Sparrow!

Saturday, August 10 – Plants of the Marsh Day
Learn the difference between invasive and native plants of the marsh, and how various types of vegetation survive (and thrive) when the marsh is flooded by saltwater tides. Salt marsh plants can provide essential habitat for birds and other species. The Saltmarsh Sparrow, for example, creates its nest out of marsh grasses and reeds, supported by stems along the sides.

How you can help, right now