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Salt Water Marshes that surround some of our coastlines act as a carbon sink or repositories for vast quantities of carbon dioxide which is the main fossil fuel that causes global warming. Theses carbon sinks prevent the fossil fuels from entering the atmosphere. Scientists think that Salt Water Marshes, Mangroves and Sea Grasses can hold ten times as much carbon dioxide as the large trees in our forests. With global warming and sea level rise becoming an ever bigger threat to our cities and towns we should protect and preserve these marshes, mangroves and sea grass beds wherever and whenever we can. Mangroves and marshes which line our coastlines also serve to prevent erosion of our beaches and shores and provide an important habitat and ecosystem for marine life.
The problem with our coastlines is that they have been under attack by natural causes such as hurricanes and storms for thousands of years and man made obstacles such as waterfront homes, roads and commercial developments. We have harmed and sometimes destroyed this natural buffer from the sea by altering the landscape near the coastlines.
The pictures shown above are of the salt water marshes around Amelia Island in northern Florida and birds occupying the salt water mangroves on Sanibel Island. Amelia Island and Sanibel Island seem to get it right by their conservation efforts to protect and preserve their coastal habitats. The National Ocean Service of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration explains how salt water marshes provide a vital link to the fish, birds mammals, and mollusks which depend on them for survival as well as preventing coastal erosion. The NOAA Service Education also has a good website which gives an illustration of salt marshes, mud flats and their benefits to wildlife and mankind. New Orleans is a good example of what can happen to a city when it’s coastal marshes and coastal barriers become diminished due to man made causes. Their salt water marshes have been diminished greatly over the years and their city is at greater risk for flooding, wind damage from storms and sea level rise.