Salt Marsh Habitat Restoration at Fireplace Neck Tidal Wetland, New York

Brookhaven, New York

Endorsed by ACFHP in FY2019.

When the state of New York first mapped the Fireplace Neck wetland in 1974, it was primarily high marsh. Since then, the marsh has transitioned from high marsh to low marsh and eventually mudflat and open water due to historic ditching and ditch plugging efforts. The site is now less resilient to sea level rise and storm events, and the degraded habitat negatively impacts recreationally and commercially important fisheries. This project, led by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, is working to improve the hydrodynamics of the wetland by widening two existing tidal channel outlets, restoring connection to Bellport Bay for two additional outlets, removing tidal plugs and replacing them where feasible, filling existing channels, and installing micro-topography to connect waterlogged areas to channels. The work will also address mosquito issues through the creation of micro-pools located in the upper reaches of the tidal channels.

These efforts will improve fish habitat, water quality and flow, and resilience to climate change, as part of a larger effort to restore a 500-acre marsh system in the area. Species benefited include American eel, winter and summer flounder, scup, bluefish, blackfish, striped bass, grass shrimp, killifish, Atlantic silversides, and other small prey.

Work is expected to be completed in 2021.


Text provided by NY DEC.