Tide Gates & Wetlands

Tidegate being manufactured Tidegate Open

Self-regulating tide gates in action. 

Tidegate Closed

In the 1970s, Fairfield began restoring some of the salt marshes that had been cut off from the tides that were vital to their health.

Due to decades of diking and draining, as much as 94% of Fairfield’s wetlands had disappeared over the course of the 20th century. Conservation Director Tom Steinke invented and patented self-regulating tide gates that allow enough tidal flow for marsh restoration but automatically close at a predetermined tide elevation to prevent flooding. These tide gates are now in use in coastal communities around the country.

Understanding the value of these wetlands both to the Sound’s ecology and for flood protection, Fairfield embarked on a restoration effort that would bring back some of the salt water marshes. Through the 1980s and 1990s, the town restored approximately 120 acres of wetlands, extending from Pine Creek into Ash Creek, Turney Creek, Mill River, Horse Tavern Creek, and Sasco Creek. Today, these wetlands continue to be an important part of the community’s protection against flooding.