SPCMSC Research Oceanographer interviewed by Public News Service about salt marsh conservation

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Dr. Meg Palmsten, Research Oceanographer at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC), was interviewed on May 6, 2021, by the Florida Public News Service about the importance of salt marsh habitat.

Image: Salt Marsh Estuary

Landscape view of a salt marsh in Florida's Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near the Cape Kennedy space center. (Credit: Randolph Femmer, USGS. Public domain.)

During the interview, Dr. Palmsten highlighted the importance of salt marshes for coastal protection. Dr. Palmsten is a Research Oceanographer who studies coastal change hazards, including how waves and water levels may cause changes to the coast during storms. In the interview, Dr. Palmsten commented on the ability of wetlands to dissipate wave energy and provide space for storm surge to reside when a storm is pushing water up into an estuary. She stated, “it's a natural place to sort of act as a buffer between the dynamic ocean and the land where we live."

Dr. Palmsten serves as the Coastal Adaptation and Resilience Working Group Lead for the Southeastern Regional Partnership for Planning and Sustainability (SERPPAS). SERPPAS met May 4 to endorse the development of a Southeast regional salt marsh conservation plan to protect a million acres of salt marsh from Northeast Florida to North Carolina. The conservation of these marshes will help protect nearby communities and habitats from the impacts of storm-induced coastal change.

The Coastal Adaptation and Resilience Working Group works to identify significant risks and vulnerabilities due to coastal changes such as increased flooding, storm surge, coastal erosion, and increased urban sprawl. The Working Group also increases collaboration and shared knowledge across the Southeast U.S. among natural resource agencies and the military, resulting in increased resilience for installations on the coast.

To listen to the interview, visit Florida Public News Service, https://www.publicnewsservice.org/2021-05-06/environment/million-acre-southeast-salt-marsh-conservation-plan-gets-green-light/a74207-1