map of Upper Indian RiverUpper Indian River Project Area

In 2013 PRWF purchased a 130-acre property on the Indian River above Route 187 and a little over a mile upstream from Crowley Island.  Conservation work on Upper Indian River represents a significant increase in our area of focus in recognition of the fact that what goes into the river upstream will eventually flow into the estuary downstream. To protect Crowley Island’s intertidal wetlands we felt that it was important to protect the upper reaches of the river as well.  The wetlands on the Upper Indian River property retain water for long periods of time and absorb water from heavy rain events thereby protecting downstream property, including Crowley Island’s shorebird and waterfowl habitat and its clam-flats and eelgrass beds by trapping any potential sediment and toxins.  

The property is very wet, over three-quarters wetlands, with the water table just below the surface.  The plants and trees on the property are those that can tolerate having wet feet much of the year.  This includes extensive areas of alders which provide excellent habitat for the American Woodcock.

Like other PRWF properties, this Upper Indian River property is open to the public for recreation. There are old, overgrown trails, which are passable, but not without a struggle or without getting feet wet.  There are at least three streams, which are difficult to cross.  One has the remnants of an old bridge and the others deteriorating beaver dams which provide tricky crossing opportunities.  Excessive foot traffic could cause erosion and all vehicular access is prohibited.  Because of the challenges of on-foot access, the best way to visit the property is to launch a canoe where the Indian River passes under Route 187 and to paddle upstream.  The river is tidal all the way to the property and along most of the eastern boundary so it behooves the paddler to pay attention to the time of high tide or both paddling up and downstream could be against the current.

Indian River small stream

The Indian River flows along the eastern boundary and can provide access to the property by canoe or kayak.

 

A number of small streams flow through the property and create challenges when walking the property.

bridge   Indian River from bridge

A bridge used to cross this stream but much of it has washed away with only two logs remaining.

 

Looking north up the Indian River from the bridge over Route 187. The Upper Indian River property is about 1/2 mile upstream.

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