Dianne Faucette


The salt marsh provides nurseries for the seafood we eat, and the feeding ground for young crabs and shrimp. Smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) decays and forms detritus, which is eaten by the fiddler crabs, which are eaten by shrimp and crabs. Cordgrass is the only plant that can live in the high-salinity marsh, and it thrives in the constantly-changing tidal conditions. As it dies each year and begins to decompose, it becomes full of fungi and bacteria which are consumed (filtered) by the oysters. The decomposed cordgrass that settles in the mud provides food for fiddler crabs and mud snails. 
More about marsh grass

More about our important estuaries

My salt marsh newsletter article.

Salt Marsh on Broad Creek

Mantis Shrimp in Broad Creek marsh

Mud Snails at Fish Haul beach

Mud Snail (live)

Mud Snails at Fish Haul beach
A creature similar in appearance to the Mud Snail is a Marsh Periwinkle, which is white rather than black. The Marsh Periwinkle climbs up and down the Spartina marsh grass with the tides, eating the algae. The Mud Snail, on the other hand, lives in the mud flats.

Mud Snails (close up) and Clam Worm

Standing in Fish Haul marsh 
at very low tide

Mink nesting in floating Cordgrass wrack

Spartina Grass in bloom

Cordgrass (Spartina) in marsh 
at Fish Haul Park

Salt crystals from ocean tides deposited on cordgrass blades at Burke's Beach

Palmetto Bluff's marsh in December

Dead Spartina grass washes ashore and becomes "wrack"--it decays and provides food for small creatures

Marsh Periwinkles on Cordgrass

The marsh at Fish Haul Creek is very distinctive from the air

Clapper Rail in marsh at Burke's Beach;
lives and hides in the Cordgrass