Coastal Wetlands: The State and Future of a Precious Resource

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Coastal wetlands, and salt marshes specifically, are simultaneously geomorphic and biologic systems. They proliferate across a narrow range of elevation, water level, and salinity conditions. Salt marshes rely on their own growth and sediment input to maintain or increase their extent, whereas physical forces such as waves and sea-level rise tend to reduce it. 

Coastal wetlands are home to many species of salt-tolerant plants. The species differ across salinity and water levels, which are controlled by tides and freshwater input. The vegetated plain, sinuous creeks, and open-water areas of wetlands are productive nurseries for juvenile fish and other estuarine species. They also provide feeding grounds for wading birds and stopover corridors for migratory waterfowl. View Story Map

Photo showing different species of salt tolerant plants near a saltmarsh

Photo showing different species of salt tolerant plants near a saltmarsh.

(Credit: Zafer Defne, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center. Public domain.)

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