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Sunnyside Marsh Preserve

The Sunnyside Marsh Preserve protects important wetlands in the Chautauqua Lake watershed. The preserve has a key location about 600 feet from the northern edge of the southern basin of Chautauqua Lake, near the lake’s outlet at the Chadakoin River. While the preserve is largely inaccessible for recreation, it plays an important role in filtering runoff from nearby agricultural uses, sports fields, industrial uses and roadways.

  • Size:  4.5 acres

  • Year Conserved by CWC: 2011

Conservation Values: During heavy precipitation, the wetlands protected at the Sunnyside March Preserve collect and slowly infiltrate floodwaters to minimize erosion and sedimentation downstream. The plant communities filter precipitation and runoff to improve the water quality in the Chautauqua Lake Watershed. This preserve plays an important role as a buffer from human uses upstream, including athletic and agricultural fields, a scrapyard, highways and roadways.

Recreational Use: There is currently no trail system at this preserve. The preserve is largely inaccessible, and only roadside parking is available. A biological inventory of the Preserve in 2016 suggested a high number of bird species residing in or passing through these wetlands, so the preserve is a great spot for birdwatching!

Location and Parking: The Sunnyside Marsh Preserve is located east of Sunnyside Road in the town of Ellery. The preserve is accessible from Sunnyside Road, which is also its western boundary.  

Features of Interest: The land is entirely woody wetland habitat, as is most of the surrounding land.


Trees: northern red oak (Quercus rubra), black cherry (Prunus serotine), white pine (Pinus strobus)

Shrubs: American witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), silky dogwood (Cornus amomum), speckled alder (Alnus incana), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), willow (Salix spp.), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), elderberry (S. canadensis)

Wildflowers: green-headed coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), water forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides), spotted joe-pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum), red clover (Trifolium pratense), clematis (Clematis spp.), wild sarspirilla (Aralia nudicaulis)

Understory: cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea), northern lady fern (Athyrium angustum)

Birds: bald eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum), green heron (Butorides virescens), black-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus erythropthalmus), American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea), northern waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)

Reptiles & Amphibians: spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum), American toad (Bufo americanus)

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