Coastal Wetlands (Tidal)
These wetlands are subject to tidal inundation and are important coastal habitats, functioning as nurseries and foraging areas for wildlife, filtering waterborne contaminants, stabilizing sediments, protecting shorelines, and reducing floods. Coastal wetlands are also imperiled habitats due to increased human development. Scientists conduct research related to sustainable management and restoration of the Nation's coastal saltwater wetlands, freshwater wetlands, and submerged aquatic ecosystems.
The water in salt marshes is highly saline, so this zone is typically vegetated by salt-tolerant plants. Emergent plants, such as black rush, pickleweed, and Spartina, are the most common vegetation type. Animals found in salt marshes include blue heron, salmon smolt, and fiddler crabs. Salt marshes occur at the land-sea interface along the coast.
Mangrove swamps are saline forested wetlands where the dominant plants are mangrove trees. Three species of mangroves grow in the continental United States; (1) red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), (2) black mangrove (Avicennia sp.), and (3) white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa). Their extensive root systems help protect the coast from erosion and wave damage. Mangrove swamps can be found from the southern tip of Florida along the Gulf Coast to Texas.
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