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Salt Marsh Creation in the York River

Tin Smith


Upgrading two tidal crossings restored 5.5 acres of intertidal habitat at the York Golf and Tennis Club in the York River estuary. Overall crossing span was increased from 4 to 12 feet at the first crossing, and from 3 to 9 feet at the second. The new culverts were installed at lower elevation than the existing pipes. Post-construction monitoring confirmed that significant tidal range has been restored in both ponds, resulting in improved water quality and access for aquatic organisms and other wildlife.


In 2014, the York Golf and Tennis Club was planning for the replacement of two culverts that connected two small ponds with the tidal water of the York River estuary. The replacements were needed to eliminate the risk that the partially collapsed structures would fail in an extreme rainfall event. The club approached the Wells Reserve about creating additional tidal habitat by installing appropriately sized and positioned culverts that would increase tidal exchange across 5.5 acres of ponded area.

Project Period



Culverts were completed in fall 2016. Three 36-inch culverts were installed at the first pond and two existing 24-inch pipes were left in place. Two 36-inch culverts were added between the first and second ponds, which retained an existing 36 inch pipe.

Two areas experienced unanticipated inundation after the culvert work. This was resolved by constructing a vegetated berm.


Final Report


  • Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund (through Big Bucks lottery ticket sales)
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • Maine Coastal Program
  • York Country Club
  • Civil Consultants
  • Laudholm Trust
  • Wells Reserve
  • Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
  • York Rivers Association
  • Mount Agamenticus to the Sea Coalition

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