22 Feb '15, 3am

Long underrated and overlooked, salt marshes are invaluable to people & wildlife!

Long underrated and overlooked, salt marshes are invaluable to people & wildlife!

For years, America’s coastal wetlands have been underrated and overlooked, dismissed as foul-smelling, bug-infested swamps that were best dredged for ship channels or buried under sports stadiums. Yet salt marshes are invaluable to people and animals alike. They shelter and feed such aquatic birds as egrets, great blue herons and black ducks as well as raptors such as peregrine falcons , ospreys and northern harriers. They are nurseries for commercially important fish such as striped bass and bluefish. Some 95 percent of the fish and shellfish harvested in U.S. waters spend at least part of their lives in coastal marshes. Biologically, an acre of healthy salt marsh is astonishingly productive, generating 10 tons of organic matter per year. (By contrast, an acre of wheat, carefully cultivated and fertilized, yields just a ton and a half.) Released into estuaries, this rich ...

Full article: http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/A...

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