Salt Marshes of Chesapeake BayThe type of wetland that crew members aboard Pride II will see, however, are tidal, salt water wetlands, or salt marshes. Tidal means that these areas are affected by the rising and falling of the tide in Chesapeake Bay. In other words, wetlands in and around Chesapeake Bay will be wetter or drier, depending on whether it is high tide or low tide. These areas are regularly flooded by salt and brackish waters. Brackish means that the water is a mixture of salt water from the Atlantic Ocean and fresh water from rivers and streams that empty into Chesapeake Bay.
What are wetlands good for?
If you have never studied a wetland up close before, you might think of these places as buggy, mucky wastelands. It's true that marshes and swamps can be challenging places to explore, but their value to us and to all living things is priceless.
For the Native Americans who lived around Chesapeake Bay, wetlands provided all kinds of important resources. Wild rice was harvested for food. The grasses and reeds that grow in salt marshes were excellent raw materials for weaving baskets and shelters. Because many types of waterfowl nest in marshes, wetlands made valuable hunting grounds long ago--and still do today!