Estuary
Salt Marsh

Shallow river mouth with tidal flooding
Fluctuating salt gradient
Maritime Climate

Where the River
Meets the Bay

A Salt Marsh is the
natural living community
found in an
estuary environment.

Salt Marsh Lowlands

Twice each day
High Tides flood

Salty Ocean Water

up into the Estuary.

The two Low Tides drain
away the ocean water as

Fresh River Water

flows down to the ocean.

The tidal flood and the river flow
change the amount of
Salt in the habitat.

Some plants can live
in those salty extremes.

Cord Grass

A true plant - tolerates pure sea water

Sea Weed - Algae

Not a Plant - Loves Salty Sea water

Least Sandpiper

Marsh water forms a
Salt Gradient

From very little salt in the river
above the tide zone,
to very salty at the Bay.

Pickleweed tolerates
Brackish water

Brackish water is Salty Sea Water
mixed with Fresh River Water.

Pickleweed &
Brant Goose

Pickleweed is food
for many Marsh animals

Invertebrates
Animals without backbones
live in Salt Marshes.


Crabs & Sea Snails

Invertebrates
especially like mud in
the Marsh channels

Many birds come here
for a crab dinner.

Huge Flock of Terns

Long Legged birds
pull dinner from
the water and mud.

Snowy Egret Hunting

Great Blue Heron

Paddling birds scoop
and sift, small fish,
invertebrates, and larvae
from the water and mud

Mallard Ducks

American Coot

Salt Marsh Uplands

Different plants & animals
live on land that is higher
and not regularly flooded
by the high tides
so the soil is less salty.

Song Sparrow & Saltbush

Boxthorn & Mockingbird

Bladderpod


Coastal Sage Scrub

Borders the marsh
on higher ground
away from salt water


©Copyright - Ann Wellhouse 2016

Photos: Bill Wellhouse