Wetlands and Marshes

Fairfield’s wetlands and watercourses are an irreplaceable but fragile natural resource, essential to the Town’s ecological health.  They are an interrelated web of nature essential to an adequate supply of surface and underground water, providing hydrological stability and control of flooding and erosion.  They recharge and purify groundwater, supporting many forms of animal, aquatic, and plant life.  These valuable water resources are carefully monitored and regulated by many Town bodies, the CT Department of Energy Environmental Protection (CTDEEP), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Achievements to Date

  • Self-regulated tide gates that restored 120 acres of salt marsh areas
  • Restoration of Sasco Beach oyster beds 

Challenges Ahead

  • Controlling invasive flora and fauna, Phragmites reeds being a major culprit
  • Monitoring impacts of development
  • Mitigating sea level rise
  • Managing extreme weather events
  • Keeping pollution out of wetlands, marshes and waterways, especially runoff from lawns and gardens (“non-point source pollution”)

Benefits of Protecting Wetlands and Marshes

  • Providing a natural buffer against flooding and storm surges
  • Diminishing drought effects due to groundwater recharging
  • Stabilizing of shores and banks
  • Improving water quality through infiltration and purification
  • Expanding habitat to support greater diversity of plants and animals
  • Improving recreational benefits: hiking, fishing, boating, walking, swimming
Pine Creek Tidal Marsh

2030 Plan Goals*

  • Public education and outreach
  • Use of wind and water as alternative energy sources
  • Increased use of porous pavement
  • Increased focus on Low Impact Design (see link below)
  • Continue to restore saltwater marsh where feasible
  • Management and removal of invasive species
  • Create environment to restore native habitat
  • Include environmental impact into Town Planning and Zoning regulations

*Some goals are ambitious, and may need more time to achieve target participation rates; others can be achieved sooner, but work on all goals should begin as soon as possible

How Do We Reach Our Goals?

  • Education and outreach to residents, businesses and government. 
  • Use of grants and public-private partnerships to execute remediation projects.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Fairfield Inland Wetland & Watercourses Regulations
Fairfield Plan of Conservation and Development
Fairfield Salt Marsh Restoration Program
Mill River Wetland Committee
Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG)
Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetlands Commissions (CACIWC)
EPA’s “Green Streets” Program
NOAA’s “What is a Watershed?”
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