Ward Marsh WMA - Poultney River/East Bay IBA

Ward Marsh WMA - Poultney River/East Bay IBA

West Haven, Vermont 05743

Ward Marsh Wildlife Management Area guide and map
Poultney River and East Bay IBA webpage

Birds of Interest

The cattail marsh of Ward Marsh provides a critical habitat for many species of birds, including marsh wrens, red-winged blackbirds, swamp sparrows, American bitterns, least bitterns, pied-billed grebes, and Virginia rails. Other water birds that utilize the marsh are great blue herons, kingfishers, black, wood, and mallard ducks, and Canada geese. Great and snowy egrets are occasional visitors. Many other wetland bird species can be seen during migration. Some raptors that occur are northern harrier, red-tailed hawk, turkey vulture, osprey, and occasional bald eagle. Bluebirds breed here, as well as more common songbirds such as common yellowthroats, yellow warblers, and Baltimore orioles.

About this Location

Ward Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is an 81-acre parcel that is owned by the State of Vermont and managed by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. It is located in the town of West Haven along the New York-Vermont state line, along the west bank of the Poultney River. Access to the WMA is from Bay Road which runs along the eastern edge of the WMA.

This WMA is a cattail marsh with a seasonally flooded red and silver maple forest fringe. Cattail marshes are thought to be common and uninteresting, but in fact, they are highly productive ecosystems and provide critical habitat for many wildlife species. There are about 3,900 feet of shoreline frontage along the Poultney River on the east side of Ward Marsh WMA. The Poultney River is one of Vermont’s most biologically diverse rivers. It was designated an Outstanding Resource Water for its natural, cultural, and scenic values, which gives it more protection. The lower reach of the Poultney River has the greatest diversity of mussels in the State, containing several rare and endangered mussels. The river is also rich in fish and other aquatic fauna. For scenic value, the Poultney River has a significant undeveloped river corridor that stretches 22 miles and includes Ward Marsh.

Ward Marsh Wildlife Management Area lies within the Poultney River and East Bay Important Bird Area.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Ward Marsh Wildlife Management Area guide and map

Last updated December 3, 2023