Explore a Salt Marsh with New Guide

Explore a Salt Marsh with New Guide

 South Carolina has approximately 350,000 acres of salt marshes and tidal creeks. (Photo: E. Weeks/SCDNR)

 South Carolina has approximately 350,000 acres of salt marshes and tidal creeks. (Photo: E. Weeks/SCDNR)

Our colleagues recently unveiled a beautiful resource for educators, anglers, coastal residents, and anyone curious about the salt marshes that define the Southeastern coast. Introducing the Guide to the Salt Marshes and Tidal Creeks of the Southeastern United States, written by SCDNR researchers Denise Sanger and Catharine Parker with help from colleagues at SCDNR, the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, and Clemson Extension. The project was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The guide was developed to provide readers with an appreciation for this ecosystem and how important it is to sustaining our coast and quality of life,” Sanger and Parker wrote in the introduction. “We hope you find this guide useful in your explorations, and that it provides you with an appreciation for the value of this important ecosystem.”

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Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • What exactly a salt marsh is, how they form, and the different types of habitat they provide
  • The many ways in which salt marshes benefit us and increase the quality of life in coastal communities
  • Why salt marshes are threatened by human activities and what coastal states are doing to protect them
  • The rich cultural history of salt marshes, from Native American use to Gullah/Geechee heritage to 19th-century rice cultivation
  • What you can do as an individual, a homeowner, and an angler to help protect salt marshes
  • Classifications – the bulk of the guide, which describes many of the plants and animals you may encounter when you explore a salt marsh

Salt marshes are one of the iconic features of life in coastal South Carolina. Ranking among the most productive and diverse landscapes on the planet (almost on par with rainforests), you can be sure to discover something new each time you explore a salt marsh. Just remember that visiting these places is not without risks – pay close attention to the local tides, beware of quicksand-like pluff mud, and wear clothes and shoes that will protect you from sharp oyster shells and black needlerush. Always respect and admire wildlife from a distance, and take care to leave the salt marsh in the same condition in which you found it.

You can explore the guide online or download it for free. Printed versions are also available by request for formal and informal educators. Contact the authors for more information here.

Mud fiddler crabs are among the many invertebrates you'll find in the salt marsh. (Image: SERTC/SCDNR)

Mud fiddler crabs are among the many invertebrates you'll find in the salt marsh. (Image: SERTC/SCDNR)

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