Saw Mill Creek Marsh Preserve
Borough: Staten Island
Habitat Type: Salt Marsh
Saw Mill Creek Marsh Preserve contains the largest expanse of remaining salt marsh along Staten Island’s west shore. The marshlands on the western side of Staten Island were created by the receding of the Wisconsin Glacier 15,000 years ago and the slow accumulation of sediment and organic soil. Saw Mill Creek Marsh was named after the brackish creek that carves through the park and empties into the Arthur Kill River behind Prall’s Island.
Saw Mill Creek Marsh is large enough to sustain breeding populations of sharp-tailed (Ammodramus caudacutus), seaside (Ammodramus maritimus), and swamp sparrows (Melospiza georgiana), and wintering northern harriers (Circus cyaneus), and short-eared owls (Asio flammeus). The park is a favorite spot for many other birds such as egrets, herons, and birds of prey including falcons and turkey vultures (Cathartes aura). Mammals that inhabit Saw Mill Creek Marsh include white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), muskrat (Ondatra zibethica), Eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus), and raccoons (Procyon lotor).
Fragments of young forest border the marsh and contain New York State listed rare plants, including several oak hybrids and a large clone of persimmon. The upland patch of maritime oak woods located at the park is especially uncommon because most of these patches were destroyed as salt marshes were filled.
Saw Mill Creek Marsh Preserve is not currently accessible to the public.