Fresh water tidal marshes

W H 512W Freshwater Tidal Marshes

In addition to plant and wildlife diversity, these wetlands play a critical role in water quality services because they filter pollutants and sediment from water that flows through them, and they are capable of absorbing heavy rainfall and slowly release it into waterways reducing flooding severity. The freshwater tidal marshes within the Refuge occur mostly along its free-flowing coastal rivers and although they are influenced twice daily by the ocean's tides they receive very little saltwater intrusion unless extreme drought-like conditions persists. Because of this, many Refuge freshwater tidal marshes were used in rice cultivation during the 18th and 19th Centuries making the plantations along these rivers some of the largest rice producers in the world during this era. There was more earth moved by hand to build the “ricefields” in Georgetown County than necessary to build the pyramids in Egypt. Almost all of the tidal marshes now managed by the refuge contain abandoned dikes and canals that were once critical for the production of rice.