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Marsh Madness

March 25, 2024

While players duel it out on the court, we’re keeping score of all the ways marsh habitat plays an important role in the protection and restoration work we do for communities, fish, and wildlife.

Coastal marsh within the Sandy Hook Bay estuary. Coastal marsh within the Sandy Hook Bay estuary. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Jessie Murray

Through early April, NOAA is taking a court-side look at how we protect and restore marsh habitat to sustain fisheries, recover protected species, and maintain resilient coastal ecosystems and communities. Take a look at our marsh habitat features and follow #MarshMadness on @NOAAHabitat!

A New Marsh in Western Louisiana Takes Shape for Fish, Birds, and People

The 392-acre marsh off Calcasieu Lake is made possible by funds from a 2006 oil spill case.

Learn about the new marsh in Louisiana

an aerial view of Longpoint Bayour is shown
When complete, the Long Point Bayou marsh creation project near Lake Calcasieu, Louisiana will consist of almost 400 acres of new habitat for fish, birds, and invertebrates like shrimp. The project site is near to a swath of sensitive marsh habitat heavily impacted by a 2006 oil spill. This aerial view shows the containment structures that will hold sediment pumped in to build the marsh structure itself. (Photo: Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority)

Community Comes Together to Replant a Restored Marsh in North Carolina

Marsh restoration in the Cape Fear River Basin is helping to improve water quality and offer storm protection.

Read about marsh restoration in North Carolina

a marsh with juvenile plants is shown with multiple volunteers in the background
New plants are shown in the Carolina Beach marsh area (NOAA Fisheries)

New Plan Outlines Strategies for Conserving South Atlantic Salt Marsh Habitat

The South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative has released a plan for conserving approximately 1 million acres of salt marsh threatened by climate change.

Plan to conserve 1 million acres of salt marsh

Aerial view of salt marsh habitat
An aerial view of salt marsh near Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. Credit: Mark Bias.

Louisiana Living Shoreline to Protect Levees, Restore Wetlands, and Reconnect People to the Coast

With $4.5 million in funding from NOAA under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, Jefferson Parish is building the first living shoreline to protect a federal levee system.

Living shoreline will create a healthy ecosystem for fish and people in Louisiana

Construction of the Bucktown Living Shoreline (Photo: Moffatt & Nichol)
Construction of the Bucktown Living Shoreline (Photo: Moffatt & Nichol)

New Project to Develop a Wetland Restoration Design for Guinea Marsh

Wetlands are a vital and productive part of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. They provide habitat for many fish and wildlife species and can help protect communities by serving as a shoreline buffer. Unfortunately, the Middle Peninsula of Virginia is experiencing a high rate of wetland loss due to increasingly intense coastal storms, sea level rise, and land subsidence (the gradual sinking of the land). A new project in the Middle Peninsula Habitat Focus Area aims to restore healthy wetlands.

Wetland restoration in the Middle Peninsula of Virginia

Marsh with tall trees in the background
The Guinea Marsh Wildlife Management Area is the target of a wetland restoration design project. Photo: Lynda Richardson/Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

Settlement Proposed to Restore Wetlands, Floodplains, and Riverbank Along the Raritan River, New Jersey

In 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice released a proposed legal settlement to compensate the public for natural resource injuries from hazardous substances released in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Under the settlement, partners will create 112 acres of forested floodplains and vernal pools. Walking trails with interpretive signage adjacent to the restored area will provide increased access to nature for local communities, including communities disproportionately affected by the pollution.

Read more about habitat restoration under the proposed legal settlement

The American Cyanamid site sits on the banks of the Raritan River. (NOAA)
The American Cyanamid site sits on the banks of the Raritan River. Credit: NOAA

5 Lovely Reasons Why We "Heart" Estuaries

Estuaries, where rivers meet the sea—have marshes, mangroves, swamps, deltas, and floodplains—that all provide valuable benefits to fish, protected species, and communities. 

Read more about why we love them and how we work to conserve, protect, and restore them

Aerial view of Snohomish Estuary
Dike Trail of the Mendenhall Wetlands in Juneau, Alaska.

Protecting Coastal Blue Carbon Through Habitat Conservation

By absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, coastal habitats (like marshes) play an important role in protecting the climate. 

Learn the basics about coastal blue carbon and what NOAA Fisheries is doing to protect coastal blue carbon habitats

A salt marsh
Coastal marshes at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Credit: Jeffrey Brainard

Infographic: The Value of Coastal Wetland Habitat

Nearly 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands are lost in the United States each year to development, draining, erosion, and sinkage. That’s close to 70 basketball courts every hour.

See the results of our efforts to protect and restore wetland habitats