Disappearing Marshes at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Credit: USFWS
A series of three photos from 1938, 1974, and 1989 that show the degredation of Blackwater marsh.

The Blackwater River watershed and, within it, the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge have undergone profound and ecologically degrading changes over the last 60 to 70 years. The intrusion of saltwater has eliminated migratory fish spawning habitat and has turned hundreds of acres of vegetated marsh into saline open-water mud flats. Thousands of additional acres of native plants, such as the three-square bulrush, have been lost to voracious plant-eating species, including nutria and resident Canada geese. The nutria is an exotic rodent species, introduced to the U.S. from South America. Marsh loss has been further exacerbated by sea level rise and land subsidence. Overall, more than 5,000 acres of natural wetlands have been lost within the boundary of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge since the 1930s. To continue reading, click here.

For further information on this topic, please contact...

Suzanne Baird, Refuge Manager, 410/228-2677

Links

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Home

Bird Species of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Flickr Site


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