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Mission Statement
Conserve, steward, and advocate for the unique rural landscape of the Eastern Shore.

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Saving Maryland’s Tidal Salt Marshes

A Project of the Delmarva Restoration and Conservation Network

Stretching like vast coastal prairies, Maryland’s tidal salt marshes provide a host of benefits to the Eastern Shore economy, playing a critical role in protecting coastal communities from storms and supporting fisheries and tourism. They also act as carbon storage, as a filter—removing pollutants from bay waters—and host abundant wildlife, including an assemblage of birds found nowhere else.

Marshes Under Threat

Unfortunately, salt marshes face an existential threat from climate-driven sea level rise. Maryland’s tidal salt marshes are predicted to suffer an almost complete loss by the year 2100, and this process is already well underway. If nothing is done, we will lose the economic and environmental benefits of marshes.

Marsh Restoration Offers Hope

Maryland land managers and environmental organizations are beginning to implement restoration projects to slow marsh deterioration and restore submerging marshes. This work will increase climate resiliency and offer safe breeding habitat for imperiled birds such as the Saltmarsh Sparrow, the Coastal Plain Swamp Sparrow, and the Eastern Black Rail.

However, the current pace of marsh restoration projects is far slower than necessary to save our tidal marsh system. A coordinated and well-funded approach is urgently needed to scale up marsh restoration in Maryland.

Marshes for Tomorrow is a project of the Delmarva Restoration and Conservation Network (DRCN) and is coordinated and led by Audubon Mid-Atlantic. The project will create a restoration plan for 25,000 acres of Maryland’s salt marshes. Ultimately, marsh restoration at this scale will save an entire ecosystem– as well as the imperiled Saltmarsh Sparrow– and, and along with it, economic benefits to fisheries, tourism, and local communities.

The project will create a plan including three elements:

  • A marsh assessment, describing and mapping the ecological and hydrological condition along with the feasibility of restoration of the marsh across Maryland’s lower eastern shore.
  • Marsh restoration strategies for each of four priority regions on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The restoration strategies will include input from local communities to capture each region’s particular geographic and cultural qualities.
  • Marsh restoration prescriptions, identifying the marshes targeted for restoration and the restoration techniques appropriate for each area.

The Marshes for Tomorrow plan will provide technical and policy guidance to implement restoration work, including cost estimates.

Partnerships and Community Engagement

The planning work will include opportunities for local communities to learn more about the restoration work and provide feedback. The Marshes for Tomorrow leaders will also facilitate efforts to involve stakeholders— private landowners, municipal government, and civic leaders—in promoting an implementation plan for tidal salt marsh restoration on a landscape scale in Maryland. Assistance with community engagement is possible with the expertise of partners at Beach To Bay Heritage Area, The Conservation Fund, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, The Lower Shore Land Trust, Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Funding Acknowledgment

The Marshes for Tomorrow initiative has been made possible through generous support from the Partners in Fish and Wildlife Program of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Marshes for Tomorrow Community Meetings

You can help conserve and restore Maryland’s tidal salt marshes and our fisheries. The coalition will be collecting community input on areas with the greatest conservation need consider attending a meeting near you:

  • January 19th 2024 4:30-6pm Delmarva Discovery Center, Worcester County
  • January 20th 2024 2-3:30pm Princess Anne library, Somerset County
  • January 25th 2024 5:30-7pm Berlin library, Worcester County
  • January 27th 2024 2-3:30pm Harriet Tubman Underground RR Visitor Center, Dorchester County


For More Information:

Instagram: @AudubonMidAtl

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