Highly Productive Ecosystems

• Salt marshes produce more basic food energy per acre than any other known ecosystem including tropical rainforests and freshwater wetlands.
Commercial Fisheries
• 70% of commercial fish depend upon salt marshes for all or part of their lives.
Nursery Habitat and Breeding Grounds
• 63 fish species in Narragansett Bay use salt marshes as nurseries, and many more fish and shellfish depend on them for living and breeding.
• Wading birds such as egrets and great blue herons feed in the productive salt marshes during the summer months.  Migratory birds such as shorebirds and ducks use salt marshes as stop-over points while traveling between summer and winter habitats.

Flood, Storm, and Shoreline Protection

• Salt marshes shield and protect coastal areas from storms, and are important shoreline stabilizers due to their wave dampening effect.  Established marsh grasses are also highly effective against erosion.

Clean and Filter Water

• Salt marshes clean water by filtering sediments, nutrients, heavy metals, and other toxins from upland runoff.


• Salt marshes provide humans unique opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking walking, hunting and educational field trips.