As the nation's largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay contains a diverse collection of habitats and salinity regimes. In order to address the diversity of habitats in the southern Chesapeake Bay subregion, NERRS established a multi-site system along the salinity gradient of the York River estuary. Reserve components include Catlett Island, Goodwin Islands, Sweet Hall Marsh, and Taskinas Creek
The Goodwin Islands are owned and managed by the College of William and Mary. The Islands are only accessible by boat. Overnight stays and hunting are not permitted in the wetland and upland portions of the Islands, and limited public access is allowed so long as it does not interfere or impact the natural resources, and research and education activities. Permitted public activities are limited to low impact uses such as beachcombing and wildlife watching. If interested in accessing Goodwin Islands, please contact Scott Lerberg for full access rules. Waterfowl hunting activities within the nearshore waters are managed by the Reserve and require a permit.
The Taskinas Creek component of the Reserve is located within the boundaries of York River State Park and therefore access is controlled by park regulations. The eastern portion of Taskinas Creek is primarily used for a variety of recreation activities and nature study. The western portion of Taskinas Creek, which comprises the majority of the Reserve, is primarily used for research and more passive, low impact recreation activities.
Catlett Islands and Sweet Hall Marsh are privately owned and incorporated into the Reserve system through conservation easements and management agreements. Access to these components is limited to research and education activities that are coordinated through the Reserve.