The natural world is changing fast… And that situation is abundantly clear in salt marsh systems where the species are not able to keep pace with rising sea levels. Sea level rise is changing the nature of marshes. It’s not just affecting individual birds, it’s affecting the entire marsh eco-system. Marshes are incredibly important. So when you think about it, a healthy marsh is what we all need. Wildlife need a healthy marsh, people need a healthy marsh. You know, many of the residents in our community depend on the marsh for their livelihood. So the Joint Venture has put a priority on that marsh habitat and the species that are dependent on that marsh habitat. Salt marshes are home to a whole suite of species. The Saltmarsh Sparrow and the Black Rail are examples of two that can’t seem to tolerate even subtle shifts in the amount of flooding to their habitat. The problems that the birds face is that they need to nest high enough off the ground that they can avoid being flooded. Sea level rise is changing things mostly because it’s making the frequency of those events more common. Those high, high tides just makes it impossible for them to reproduce. The eggs either get washed out or the chicks drown. If conditions continue the way that they have been, then Saltmarsh Sparrow will go extinct and the same is gonna be true for other species as well. You know, things that suffer when it floods are gonna be affected and species will disappear as a result of that. ‘Inches’ make a huge difference. The fifty-year projections for sea level rise and how that’s going to influence the marsh are pretty scary. But the only way to tackle that is to look at where we’ve got opportunities to prepare for some of the changes that are coming and to start to work together. One of the crucial things about what’s being done right now by the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture is that they are bringing people together, getting scientists, talking with managers, getting both those groups talking with policy makers… Trying to take a broad view to figure out what it will take to actually effect change. The Atlantic Coast Joint Venture has developed this conservation plan that helps bridge the scale between what’s needed coast-wide and then those local level actions that can make a difference and all plug in to that large-scale vision. Since we can predict how sea-level rise will affect our coastal marshes, that means we can plan for it and that’s what the Joint Venture is doing. Every marsh is different and the best strategy for you is something that we have to learn. No one has all the answers and so what we encourage is that, if you have questions, reach out to us. We have partners on the ground who are testing out these management actions and have lessons to share and we’d love to connect you with the people who can help to get those questions answered.