Salt marshes are found in tidal areas near the coast, where freshwater mixes with saltwater. They are usually protected from the full force of the open ocean but are flooded several times a day. The most common plants are salt-tolerant grasses, which can resemble watery hay fields. Some early European settlers actually harvested “salt hay” for their livestock. Salt marshes provide good habitat for waterfowl, crabs, oysters, and many species of fish. Many national wildlife refuges along the East and Gulf coasts feature salt marshes.
Notable Species: Cordgrass, groundsel, black rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, great egret, fiddler crab, black duck.
Notable Refuges: E.B. Forsythe, Wertheim, Chincoteague, Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually.