The lower Connecticut River is home to internationally recognized tidal marsh communities, exceptionally intact forest blocks and tributaries, and a multitude of creatures, including six kinds of plants and animals that are rare or endangered worldwide. In 1994 it was recognized as containing "Wetlands of International Importance" under the Ramsar convention.
The chapter has protected more than 4,000 acres in this region since 1960. Today, the Conservancy uses additional conservation strategies. It is currently conducting an ambitious marsh restoration program in partnership with the state Department of Environmental Protection to restore habitat for diverse species.
A key component of the Lower Connecticut River Program is community partnerships, particularly in East Haddam, Lyme and Salem, the three towns through which the Eightmile River flows. This tributary of the Connecticut is of remarkably high water quality, and is surrounded by large blocks of undeveloped forest; despite more than 350 years of settlement, the area today is more than 80 percent forested.
This forest block is adjacent to the watershed of the Salmon River, which is important as a winter roost and perch site for bald eagles. Two rare species of invertebrate inhabit the area, as do four significant plant species. Atlantic salmon, rainbow smelt, Atlantic sturgeon and shortnose sturgeon have been identified in the area. One of the remarkable forest blocks in the watershed of the lower Connecticut River is the Meshomasic Forest, centering on its namesake, which is New England's oldest state forest.