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Salt Marsh at Hammonasset Beach State Park

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Vocabulary

  • Salt Marsh – coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tide.
  • Sediment – matter that settles at the bottom of the water, such as decomposed plant matter.
  • Sediment Deposition – the laying down of sediment that has been suspended in the water.
  • Sediment Accretion –the accumulation of deposited sediment causing the vertical growth of the marsh.

Fun Facts

  • Four Major things that make the salt marsh useful to people:
    • 1- Acts like a filter – acts like a gigantic sponge and absorbs the tide water coming in; collects sediments, toxins, and nutrients.
    • 2- Acts as a grocery store –is a critical part of the food chain– salt marshes create more new biomass than a rain forest each year.
    • 3- Acts as a nursery – includes everything (food, water and shelter) that baby birds, fish, insects need to survive.
    • 4- Acts as a barrier – gets larger as it absorbs water – 1 mile of marsh absorbs about one foot of storm surge; a marsh also absorbs the energy of waves.
  • The deposition of new growth on the marsh is faster than decomposition so that salt marshes get thicker over time. Salt marshes grow about 1 foot every hundred years. The Hammonasset salt marsh developed after the glacier left and is about 1500 years old.
  • The salt marsh is composed of deep mud and peat and is very spongy – it bounces when you jump on it.

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