Lang Marsh (Augustine SWA)

Site Description

  • State: Delaware
  • County: New Castle
  • Ownership: State


  • Lang Marsh: 195 acres

Ecology and Management

Lang Marsh is a brackish impoundment located near the town of Port Penn in northern Delaware. It fronts on Delaware Bay, just south of the large, privately-owned Thousand-acre Marsh impoundment. The impoundment was constructed in the 1950s and was owned by the Lang family before its transfer to the state of Delaware. It is now part of Augustine State Wildlife Area. It goes by the alternate names of Canadas Beach impoundment (Chan & Schulte 2003) and Port Penn impoundment (on eBird.org). The impoundment is currently managed by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) primarily to support waterfowl and shorebirds. Nesting structures are erected on site, and formerly water levels were manipulated to expose mudflats during shorebird migration. Water control capabilities were lost in recent years due to deteriorating equipment. According to eBird, 205 bird species have been observed at the site, including sizeable numbers of shorebirds: a high count in 2015 tallied 1,100 Semi-palmated Sandpipers using the impoundment.


The Lang Marsh impoundment has experienced severe damage (breached) at least twice in the last 25 years: once during Hurricane Sandy and once in a subsequent nor’easter. The water control structures are currently non-functional and this formerly freshwater impoundment has become more brackish in recent years due to saltwater infiltration. Phragmites growth has increased as a result. Overall, the impoundment is highly vulnerable to sea level rise.

Human Value

There is no official visitor use data for Lang Marsh, although it is frequented by birders. Over 440 birding checklists have been submitted to eBird.org (as of January 2017).

Literature Resources

Below is a list of articles describing research occurring at or near the impoundments:
  • Catts, W. P., and T. Mancl. “To keep the banks, dams and sluices in repair”: an historical context for Delaware River dikes, New Castle County, Delaware. Dover, Delaware: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; 2013.
  • Chan, S., and S. Shulte. A Plan for Monitoring Shorebirds During the Non-breeding Season in Bird Monitoring Region Delaware – BCR 30. Manomet, Massachusetts: Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences; 2003.
  • DDNREC [Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control]. Northern Delaware Wetland Rehabilitation Program. http://www.dnrec.state.de.us/fw/intmrmt.htm. Dover, Delaware: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; 2001.
  • Meredith, W. H., T. J. Moran, and R. E. Meadows. Managing Delaware’s Coastal Wetlands for Biodiversity. Dover, Delaware: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; 2002.
  • Parsons, K. C. 2002. Integrated management of waterbird habitats at impounded wetlands in Delaware Bay, USA. Waterbirds 25:25-41.