Paul Capotosto & Roger Wolfe


Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Wildlife Division

Wetlands Habitat and Mosquito Management (WHAMM) Program

Franklin Wildlife Management Area

391 Route 32

North Franklin, CT 06254



The Continental Marsh is an 80-acre coastal wetland located in Stonington, CT between the Pawcatuck River and the Barn Island Wildlife Management Area.  This area also has significant Native American heritage with known archaeological findings on the property. Much of this tidal salt marsh is also part of one of the oldest working salt hay farms in CT, dating back to the 1600's and remaining in continuous operation in the same family for 6 generations. Originally ditched for salt hay production, and maintained for mosquito control since the 1930’s, many of the ditches hadn't been cleaned for over 20 years. As a result, many of the ditches filled in and stagnant water areas formed, killing off the native marsh vegetation. These saturated areas produced considerable amounts of mosquitoes increasing the amounts of pesticide needed for control, reduced salt hay production, and perpetuated invasion by Phragmites. The CT DEEP WHAMM Program, working with the landowner, private contractors, and the crew’s specialized low ground pressure equipment, employed a methodology it calls Integrated Marsh Management (IMM) to restore tidal hydrology by selectively cleaning or creating tidal channels, controlling the Phragmites over a 3-year period using an herbicide and mowing treatment, enhancing the wetland habitat for wildlife through the selective creation of shallow pools, and virtually eliminating the mosquito breeding on the area with a concomitant reduction in mosquito pesticide use. Because of significant Native American activity in this region, archaeological monitoring was also required during restoration. The project was completed in 3 years. Hydrologic and vegetative recovery was noted within the first growing season. The site will continue to be monitored for vegetation recovery, water bird use and mosquito production.