Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Image: Brian Bill, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer
A new study has found that half of the nation’s tidal marshes are at risk of being destroyed by sea-level rise, most of them along the southern coasts of the contiguous U.S.
Now, members of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, whose one million residents live along coastal areas stretching from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, are fighting to preserve these critical habitats and the cultural value they’ve provided for generations.
Why This Matters: Salt marshes have a reputation as smelly and swampy, but they provide an essential service to our oceans and the greater environment. 75% of regional fish species rely on salt marshes at some point in their lifecycle for food, refuge, and nursing grounds. They’re also valuable as buffers against flooding and act as sponges that soak up floodwaters and filter runoff.
The Gullah/Geechee Nation hopes to protect and restore their salt marshes as well. “The waterways are sacred to us and provide our food. Every native Gullah/Geechee grew up breathing in the smell of pluff mud as we proceeded out to get the family meals of fish, shrimp, oysters, clams, and blue crabs,” said Chieftess and Head of State, Queen Quet. “Saltmarsh is not something that we simply go through or to; it’s part of our family, too. Our lives depend on it.”
A Sinking Feeling: Research from Holmquist et al. found that northerly marshes and southerly marshes differed in vulnerability to sea-level rise. Using tide gauge data, soil formation rates, and local maps of water level, elevation, and land cover, they found that Northern tidal marshes were less likely to migrate inland due to sea-level rise. Meanwhile, southern marshes were less likely to collect and maintain enough soil to keep up with rising tides. Researchers say they hope that these findings can help officials prioritize and plan future conservation efforts.
Queen Quet says that the project is just what the doctor ordered. “The initiative is a perfect fit for the Gullah/Geechee Nation! It suits us like a custom-made garment or a personally crafted vessel that will finally allow us to get other folks to navigate our coast with us in a way that is in harmony with our cultural traditions,” she told Pew Trusts. “I’m looking forward to bringing Gullah/Geechee traditional knowledge into the planning process, but even more than that, I’m looking forward to putting on my hip boots and stepping out into the marsh with my Gullah/Geechee famlee.”
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor Research has found that smoke and ash from Australia’s massive 2019 and 2020 wildfires triggered widespread algal blooms thousands of miles away. The Duke University-led study reported that the phenomenon could be effective in sequestering additional carbon, but algal blooms can also be toxic and devastating to wildlife and […]
You may remember our special Earth Day interview with Friend of the Planet, Brian Skerry. Well, he’s in the news again, but this time for working on the Emmy Award-winning documentary, Secrets of the Whales. The four-part series explores the complex lives of five whale species, including orcas, humpbacks, belugas, narwhals, and sperm whales. […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer A motion rejecting deep-sea mining was largely supported by delegates at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, currently meeting in Marseille, France. The motion calls for a moratorium on extracting minerals from deep below the ocean surface, as well as reforms for the International Seabed Authority, which is responsible for […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.