Coastal Perspectives Lecture – Feb 20, 2024

A Tale of Two Estuaries

Connecticut River at Hadlyme. (photo credit: Patrick Lynch, all rights reserved)

Patrick Lynch, artist | author | designer | photographer


Connecticut’s two largest riverine estuaries have long been recognized as world-class natural treasures, also rich with the human history of our region. The two very different characters of the Connecticut River and the Thames River estuaries are due to accidents of geology that determined their fates. We owe the gorgeous rural character of the Lower Connecticut River to vast sediments left behind by the Ice Age glaciers, which prevented the development of large ports on the Connecticut. The historical importance of the Thames River ports of New London and Groton grew from the deep natural harbors of the Thames estuary. Both rivers have been critical to New England’s natural history and human development, and both estuaries are now part of the new Connecticut National Estuarine Research Preserve. This talk will compare and contrast the Thames and Connecticut River estuaries, emphasizing the natural history of our regional estuaries and coastal habitats.


Patrick J. Lynch is an artist, photographer, and author who has written ten books published by Yale University Press, including “A Field Guide to Long Island Sound.”. His next book, “A Field Guide to the Connecticut River,” will be published by Yale Press in the spring of 2024. After 45 years as a director of various media departments at Yale University he retired in 2016.



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