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Great Salt Marsh IBA

Birding in Massachusetts

Great Salt Marsh
Great Marsh Important Bird Area

Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
Great Marsh Important Bird Area webpage
Great Marsh Important Bird Area map

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Essex County

Great Salt Marsh IBA
Coordinates: 42.7392589, -70.8146954
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About Great Marsh Important Bird Area
The Great Marsh stretches from the New Hampshire border in the north, and south to the Farm Creek estuary and salt marsh in West Gloucester, Massachusetts. To the east, it is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by a series of glacial uplands in seven different towns. The site is essentially co-extensive with the Parker River/Essex Bay Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and is one of the most important coastal ecosystems in northeastern North America. It is a textbook example of a barrier beach/dune/salt marsh system, in addition to encompassing the estuaries of several rivers (i.e., Essex, Ipswich, Rowley, and Parker). It is the largest contiguous stretch of salt marsh north of Long Island, and the marsh is variously dotted with many upland islands of glacial origin that are either forested or still in agricultural use. The area is rich in its diversity of characteristic species, including several that are state or federally listed. More than 300 bird species have been recorded within its boundaries. Recent extensive studies on the health of the marsh (see below) have determined that the ecosystem is currently in good shape; however, there are some significant threats to its ecological health that need to be addressed. The shoals of Ipswich Bay, and arguably the deep water beyond, are an inherent part of the adjacent coastal ecosystem and should be considered when describing this IBA.
From Great Marsh Important Bird Area webpage