Wildlife & Habitat

The Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge was established to protect the diversity of native species of plants, fish, and wildlife and their ecosystems within the Connecticut River watershed. The natural environment of the 7.2 million acre watershed is extremely diverse and expansive. Refuge divisions and units were established to protect some of the most biologically significant areas within the watershed. Refuge lands are managed to support wildlife and habitats of conservation concern, such as federal listed species, migratory birds and fish, and wetlands. Refuge lands also provide connectivity to other open spaces essential for the movement and adaptation of plants and animals.

  • Birds

    Black duck - USFWS.

    Connecticut River watershed habitats support over 200 bird species throughout the year. Large forest blocks, floodplain forests and expansive tidal marshes support breeding, wintering, and migrating songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and shorebirds.

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  • Endangered Species

    Piping plover - Deb Reynolds/USFWS.

    Nine federally listed endangered, threatened, or candidate species occur within the Connecticut River watershed. Seven of these species are known to occur within Refuge Divisions or the Connecticut River and its tributaries.

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  • Fish

    Brook trout - Jaime Masterson.

    The Connecticut River watershed supports a diversity of fishery resources. Cold–, cool– and warm-water species are in general abundance throughout the watershed.

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  • Mammals

    Moose - USFWS.

    The numerous habitats of the refuge attract a wide variety of wildlife and are especially critical to the survival of many mammalian species.

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  • Amphibians & Reptiles

    Wood turtle - Deb Reynolds/USFWS.

    The Connecticut River watershed encompasses a variety of wetland habitats including vernal pools, marshes, streams, and ponds that support a diversity of amphibians and reptiles.

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  • Habitats

    Shawangunk Meadows - Patrick Comins.

    Biologically diverse habitats that support native plants and animals are critical to the health of the Connecticut River ecosystem. As development increases in the watershed, the protected lands within the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge become crucial in providing natural habitats, some of which are rare in the watershed, to support the animal communities that rely upon them.

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