Estuaries like Tampa Bay are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world. More than 70% of all fish, shellfish, and crustaceans spend some part of their lives in the protected estuarine waters of coastal wetlands. The unique environment of brackish water is a perfect nursery ground for spawning, breeding, feeding, or maturation (FEP, April 2009). Salt marsh communities are critically important habitats that grow along the intertidal fringe of the bay, preventing erosion, absorbing pollutants, and providing habitat for important fish and wildlife species.
Salt marsh planting projects have become an environmental tool for restoring our lost habitat. Studies demonstrate that restored salt marshes provide fish access to usable habitats and are directly linked to fish growth, productivity, and resilience, (FEP, April 2009). Research and development also now allows scientists to include many different habitats in marsh restoration projects.
Opportunities to participate in salt marsh planting projects arise throughout the year, usually with a 1-2 month notice. Keep an eye on our volunteer page for future project listings.
Above: Bahia Beach (from left: Baseline, 1-year, 2-year)
How Does Salt Marsh Help Tampa Bay?
Salt marsh has numerous benefits for Tampa Bay and its marine and shoreline inhabitants.
- Stablizes shorelines and protects against erosion
- Provides habitat for small fish and other creatures
- Traps sediments that would otherwise sweep into the bay
The Proof is In the Numbers
Salt marsh plantings occur throughout the year. Community volunteers and students from the Bay Grasses In Classes program participate in restoration efforts in Tampa Bay and have contributed to restoring the bay. Here are our most current numbers:
- We restored 294 acres of wetland habitat!
- We planted 334,204 plugs of salt marsh.
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