• Bluff Point - Main Trail, by Judy Benson/Connecticut Sea Grant

    National Estuarine Research Reserve

National Estuarine Research Reserve

78 Fish Species

The CT River has the highest fish diversity in the region, including threatened and endangered species

52,000+ Acres

The Reserve protects part of Long Island Sound, the Thames and Connecticut Rivers, and state parks and natural area preserves

Established 2022

The Reserve was officially designated into the National Estuarine Research Reserve System in January 2022

One of Connecticut's Greatest Natural Treasures

The Long Island Sound provides countless recreational opportunities, serves as a critical habitat for fish and other marine wildlife, and improves the quality of life in Connecticut. Designated in 2022, the Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 30 Research Reserves in the country that are focused on research, education, and stewardship of estuarine ecosystems. With more than 50,000 acres of marsh, upland, and open water in Long Island Sound, Fishers Island Sound, and the lower Connecticut and Thames Rivers, the Reserve provides essential habitat for wildlife, offers educational opportunities for students, teachers and the public, and serves as a living laboratory for scientists. Our vision is to have a resilient, healthy Long Island Sound estuary and watershed where human and natural communities thrive.

Avery Point Landscape (Uconn)
Pine Island and UConn Avery Point Landscape

We acknowledge that the land comprising the Reserve is the territory of the Mashantucket Pequot, Mohegan, Eastern Pequot, Lenape, Narragansett, Western Nehântick, Hammonasset, Wappinger, Schaghticoke, and Wangunks peoples, who have stewarded it throughout the generations. We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land, and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their example.


Dive in to discover ways you can explore the Reserve

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Learn more about the Reserve's research, monitoring, and restoration efforts

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Decision Makers

Learn more about how the Reserve provide relevant and useful information to decision makers

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Get your hands dirty as you explore our educational opportunities

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Explore The Reserve

There are many ways to enjoy the Connecticut Reserve - by land or Sound! In addition to the 50,205 acres of subtidal area, the Reserve includes 1,955 acres of state-owned land. State park locations are accessible to the public and offer a variety of recreational opportunities. Natural area preserves and coastal reserves do not widely support active recreation but can easily be enjoyed via kayak or canoe from several nearby public launch sites.

Map of the CT Reserve

CT Reserve boundary and sites

Recent News

  • Spring 2024 Newsletter
    Spring has sprung at the Reserve! If you’d like our newsletters to come directly to your inbox, please sign up here.  
    Posted on May 1, 2024
  • Registration is open!
    Join us for a Reserve Celebration! Reserve Celebration: A day of fun at Bluff Point State Park Sat Sept 30th, activities offered from 8:30-4:00 Bluff State Park State, 55 Depot Rd, Groton, CT 06340 Come celebrate the newly established Connecticut National Estuarine Research Reserve as we spend the day fishing, kayaking, hiking, biking, and exploring. […]
    Posted on September 12, 2023
  • Meet our Summer Team!
    Meet our Summer Team! This summer, we are fortunate to have a group of passionate undergraduates working with us. Here’s a little bit more on each of them: Dylan Antonucci Senior, majoring in Marine ScienceSince I am a marine science major, I am excited to get to know how marine scientists conduct experiments and how […]
    Posted on July 12, 2023