Tidal Salt Marshes
Protect and restore tidal salt marshes by halting further encroachment on them, returning tidal flows, and managing invasive species.
Tidal salt marshes are coastal wetlands that are washed daily by saltwater tides and are powerful storage systems for carbon—much more effective than forests. These unique habitats occur along seacoasts and estuaries from the tropics to the Arctic. They provide shelter for juvenile fish, crabs, and shrimp, and buffer inland communities against erosion and flooding. Unfortunately, 25–50 percent of salt marshes around the world have already been lost, and existing marshes are threatened by development and sea-level rise, potentially transforming these carbon sinks to carbon sources. Yet salt marshes respond quickly to restoration: simply returning tidal flows to a dammed marsh also returns much of its ability to store carbon and protect shorelines within just a year or two, and in five years the marsh becomes rich habitat for wildlife. Recognizing their value, protecting existing salt marshes, and restoring those that have been damaged are ways to maintain biodiversity and reduce coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise—while ensuring carbon continues to be stored in their soil.