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Our Projects > Wheeler Refuge Restoration & Monitoring

Restoration of Wheeler Wildlife Management Area

At this 18-acre site at the entrance to the York Harbor, the Town of York replaced a culvert near Dock #1. An artificial salt marsh had been created when leavings from an early 1960’s harbor dredging were dumped on existing clam flats.

Total dollar value: $52,870. + $7,000 project management and permitting
Project support: Fish American Foundation ($23,920); Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership ($10,000); Town of York – Department of Public Works; Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation ($7,000); York Rivers Association
Participants: York Rivers Assocation, Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership; Ducks Unlimited; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association; Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve; US Fish & Wildlife Service; University of New Hamphsire Jackson Estuarine Laboratory; Town of York – Department of Public Works; Town of York – Conservation Commission

Wheeler Refuge Monitoring
The goal is to achieve sustained long-term monitoring by students and the community of the Wheeler Refuge both prior to and following the restoration. Project will fund initial involvement of the York High School with Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Wheeler Refuge monitoring projects, as well as provide the school with training and some equipment.

Project request: Gulf of Maine Council of the Marine Environment; Habitat Restoration Grants Program
Participants: Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve; York High School; York Conservation Commission; York Rivers Association; local community

Photo by Jackie Ricciardi © 2004 York Weekly

York High School marine biology students are reflected in a salt marsh as they survey fish off of Route 103.

Related articles:

  • All eyes on marsh
    June 16, 3004, York Weekly
    Now that the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge restoration project is over, local environmental groups are keeping a close eye on its marshes to learn about the progress it makes.
  • Marsh repair is under way
    February 18, 2004, York Weekly
    With a little help from a lot of friends, the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge should be a whole lot greener this spring. The marsh’s Enhancement and Restoration Program has been in the works for about eight years, but after the funding was secured and the permits approved, the actual construction phase began early last week.
  • Project under way to enhance marsh
    Feb 17, 2004, Portland Press Herald
    For 40 years, Wheeler Marsh has struggled in its evolution from a mud flat to a saltwater marsh. The area developed into a marsh after dredge spoils from the York River were pumped into roughly 20 acres between Route 103 and Harbor Road in 1961.
  • Project to improve Wheeler Marsh underway
    February 12, 2004, Portsmouth Herald
    Construction work to restore the Wheeler Marsh between Route 103 and Harbor Road on the south side of the York River is scheduled to begin Feb. 9. The project will enhance the vitality of marsh plants by improving tidal flow and constructing channels and pools. Fish, bird and shellfish habitat will be improved. The York Conservation Commission is sponsoring the project in collaboration with the York Rivers Association.
  • Wheeler Marsh project to begin
    February 4, 2004, The York Weekly
    Construction work to restore the Wheeler Marsh between Route 103 and Harbor Road on the south side of the York River is scheduled to begin Feb. 9.


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