A sun-lit saltmarsh dotted with oak hummocks, Merrill Lake Sanctuary is one of the most beautiful coastal marsh complexes on eastern Long Island, with panoramic vistas of Accabonac Harbor and a primordial quiet broken by the calls of ospreys and terns hunting their scaly prey. Here, where the land meets the sea, is a rich breeding ground for algae, plankton and marine invertebrates and nursery for a wide variety of finfish. This abundance of aquatic life, in turn, makes the sanctuary ideal resting, feeding and breeding grounds for shorebirds, waterfowl and other wildlife.
During the early 1900s, the saltmarsh was ditched to control mosquitoes, but by reducing the standing water, they also altered the wetland’s ecology. The Conservancy is working with the Town of East Hampton to restore the marshes. Pools of trapped water are used to support populations of fish that eat mosquitoes.