The Science and Conservation Office – Our Work

Since 1898, Connecticut Audubon Society has been a leader in conserving Connecticut’s environment through science-based conservation, education and advocacy focused on the state’s bird populations and habitats. The Science and Conservation office produces the annual Connecticut State of the Birds report, which informs the public and legislature on bird and habitat protection issues. In addition, our work focuses primarily on two main topics: Habitat Management and Conservation Research.

Habitat Management

Connecticut Audubon Society manages and protects 19 sanctuaries, covering 3,300 acres of wildlife habitat throughout Connecticut, including significant upland forest habitat, wetlands of international importance, some of the state’s largest tracts of managed grassland habitat, as well as critical breeding, wintering and staging areas for shorebirds along the Long Island Sound that are deemed of national importance. Sanctuaries are managed to improve habitat for specific conservation priority species and wildlife in general using data-driven adaptive management strategies and long-term monitoring and assessment tools. More detailed information on each sanctuary can be found in the sanctuaries section of this website. A critical component of the Society’s core mission is to promote and enact conservation programs throughout the State. The expertise of our Science and Conservation office is employed to design, implement and oversee habitat management projects for conservation partners statewide. The following are a few examples of recent projects that helped improve wildlife habitat on properties managed by other entities:

USACE Colebrook woodland

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages over 2,700 acres of wildlife habitat in their Naugatuck River Valley flood control projects

  • Connecticut Audubon Society provides its services to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assist the corps with wildlife habitat management recommendations for six flood control projects in the Naugatuck River basin.
  • Our Science and Conservation staff works with DuPont Corporation and state agencies to coordinate restoration of critical coastal grassland and shoreline habitat on Stratford Point. General information about Stratford Point is here, and you can read about our dune restoration project here and here.
  • Connecticut Audubon Society recently completed a conservation plan for the Stratford Great Meadows Important Bird Area, which includes the Great Meadows subunit of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Stewart B. McKinney NWR, in cooperation with Baystate Environmental and commissioned by the National Audubon Society.
  • Connecticut Audubon Society partners with town conservation committees, land trusts and other protectors of valuable open space to help these entities best manage their protected land for habitat, birds and other wildlife.

Please click on the individual links above to learn more about these projects, or click here to see a complete project overview from the Science and Conservation office.

Conservation Research

Connecticut Audubon Society’s conservation projects are data-driven and we carry out a range of studies to obtain the information needed to make educated and smart conservation and management decisions.  Conservation research takes place on our own sanctuaries to develop adaptive management plans to best address specific conservation goals for each sanctuary (see sanctuary page for more details), but also involve properties managed by conservation partners. In some cases, conservation research projects allow for participation by citizen scientists under supervision from our Science and Conservation office. Recent examples of our conservation research include:

  • Breeding bird surveys and migratory bird surveys in the Stratford-Great Meadows Important Bird Area (IBA), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
  • Waterfowl habitat and resource use on Stratford point for DuPont
  • Statewide screening for the deadly fungal disease chytridiomycosis in local amphibians in cooperation with Yale University, the Department of Environmental Protection and White Memorial Foundation
  • Breeding Bird Surveys for the Darien Land Trust
  • Developed an online database tool to support adaptive, data-driven conservation and management efforts in the Housatonic River estuary, in cooperation with Sacred Heart University

More information on these projects can be found by clicking on the appropriate links above. For a complete project overview from the Science and Conservation office, click here. Photo of woodland at USACE Colebrook River Lake © Twan Leenders

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