Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge

Site Description

  • State: Rhode Island
  • County: Newport
  • Ownership: Federal


  • Sachuest Point Impoundment: 29 acres

Ecology and Management

The impoundment at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge was created in 2004 as part of a salt marsh creation and landfill remediation project. A water control structure installed in collaboration with Ducks Unlimited facilitates management of a mix of salt marsh, mudflat and salt panne habitats. Year round shorebird counts have been conducted in the restored marsh by volunteers. According to their website: “A total of 55 waterbird species and several birds of prey have been documented on the marsh since fall of 2004, with the most common species year-round being the three common gull species, followed by semipalmated plovers, double crested cormorant and semipalmated sandpiper.” This site participates in the International Shorebird Survey. The second highest wintering population of Harlequin Ducks on the Atlantic coast occurs off Sachuest Point (McGarigal 2002).


The impounded area is separated from the ocean by a 100-foot-wide low dune on a dynamic coastline, and is therefore vulnerable to sea level rise, storms, and erosion.

Human Value

An estimated 65,000 people visit Sachuest NWR annually. The site is frequented by birders, particularly in the winter when high concentrations of sea ducks can be viewed from the point (McGarigal 2002).

Literature Resources

Below is a list of scholarly articles describing research occurring at or near the impoundments:
  • James-Pirri, M., K. Raposa, and J. Catena. 2001. Diet composition of mummichogs, Fundulus heteroclitus, from restoring and unrestricted regions of a New England (USA) salt marsh. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53:205-213.
  • McGarigal, N. Comprehensive Conservation Plan: Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. Charlestown, RI: US Fish and Wildlife Service; 2002.
  • McKinney, R. A., S. R. McWilliams, and M. A. Charpentier. 2006. Waterfowl–habitat associations during winter in an urban North Atlantic estuary. Biological Conservation 132:239-249.
  • Roman, C. T., K. B. Raposa, S. C. Adamowicz, M. James‐Pirri, and J. G. Catena. 2002. Quantifying vegetation and nekton response to tidal restoration of a New England salt marsh. Restoration Ecology 10:450-460.
  • USFWS [United States Fish and Wildlife Service]. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge: Resource Management – Water Control Structure Installation. http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Sachuest_Point/what_we_do/resource_management.html 2016.