Farm River Estuary is a wild, pristine and enormously complex productive,
and fragile estuarine ecosystem with wooded uplands, high quality
fresh water, and brackish tidal marshes. These picturesque floodplains,
coves, and inlets provide a critical natural habitat for an immense
variety of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds,
fish, shellfish and mammals that rely on it for food, water, and
shelter, especially during migration and breeding.
The Farm River Estuary also forms the southern
end of an important migratory flyway that extends north through
the center of Connecticut and Massachusetts into northern New England
and Canada. The Farm River has been used for navigation by a fertilizer
factory, stone quarry, paper mill, saloon, salt hay harvesters,
fisherman and boating enthusiasts.
During colonial times there was a swine farm
in the northern sections and a prominent hill, Beacon Hill, was
used as a lighthouse and quarry. Barges hauled traprock downstream
to Long Island Sound. During the late 19th century, summer cottages
and small boats moored on stakes lined both sides of the lower river.
The population along the shoreline will continue
to grow exponentially and the cumulative effects of the last century
will pale in comparison to the pressures that will come to bear
on the Farm River Estuary in the coming years. Maintaining the estuary
in its current undeveloped condition and promoting environmentally
sound use of the Farm River watershed is critical as estuaries around
the world are rapidly dying.