November 30, 2022
Depending on when you visit, you may observe standing water where wading birds or waterfowl can gather. Other times, the mudflat will be exposed and you might spot shorebirds searching for food. Flooding by tidal water is crucial for a salt marsh to keep up with sea level rise. The marshes at Parker River Refuge are at a relatively high elevation, and historically flood once a month. This flood water carries and deposits sediment up onto the marsh, which helps increase its elevation. The flood water is also rich in nutrients and invertebrates, providing wildlife with a reliable source of food.
In general, a salt panne is a shallow depression in the marsh surface where water can pool and evaporate. The salt panne in front of you is man-made, but mimics the hydrology of a natural salt panne. Add your photo helps to see how the water level and wildlife use changes in different months.
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is located on Plum Island, a barrier island along the coast of northern Massachusetts. The mix of habitats—including salt marsh, salt pannes, maritime shrubland, and beach dunes—makes the location especially important for migratory birds. One of the main focuses of the Refuge is to restore habitats and ecosystems to be more resilient to climate change, particularly for salt marshes in the Great Marsh.
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge is oak hickory forest with many forested wetland and tidal estuary tucked inland just west of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Here, fresh riverine waters meet salty oceanic waters allowing a wide variety of plant and animal life to flourish. The Refuge is another important stopping ground for migrating birds to feed, shelter, and in some cases breed.
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