Westerly, Rhode Island 02891Maschaug Pond and Beach - Audubon IBA
The coastal pond provides feeding and roosting sites for long-legged waders such as Great Egret (Ardea alba), Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Green Heron (Butorides virescens), and Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), as well as shorebirds, gulls, terns, and waterfowl.
The barrier beach separates a series of coastal ponds, including Maschaug and Little Maschaug Ponds, from the Atlantic Ocean (Block Island Sound). These coastal ponds contain a narrow fringe of coastal shrubland on their landward (northern) shores, beyond which the vegetation is constrained by either a roadway (Maschaug Pond) or golf course fairways (Little Maschaug Pond). On their ocean (southern) shorelines the ponds contain more extensive vegetation zones associated with the back dune system of the barrier beach. Evidence of historical storm washovers is apparent as fingerlike projections of upland protruding into the open water areas of the pond.
This barrier beach system has foreshore, beach strand, primary dunes, and back dune zonation. The beach strand provides suitable nesting sites for Piping Plover and Least Tern and is part of the Audubon Society's Maschaug Pond and Beach Important Bird Area (IBA).
The IBA is located between the Misquamicut Section of Westerly, Rhode Island to the east and the Village of Watch Hill to the west and lies within land owned by the Misquamicut Country Club from Ocean View Drive, oceanward to the highest high tide elevation.
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