In partnership with the South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative (SASMI) and the Conservation Fund, the Dare County Soil and Water Conservation District is seeking input from Dare County landowners whose land contains salt marsh. This survey will assist SASMI in developing programs and incentives for land conservation.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a salt marsh is defined as a coastal wetland that is flooded and drained by saltwater brought in by the tides. These intertidal habitats are essential for healthy fisheries, coastlines and communities—and they are an integral part of the local economy and culture. They also provide essential food, refuge or nursery habitats for more than 75 percent of fisheries species, including shrimp, blue crab and many finfish.
Salt marshes also protect shorelines from erosion by buffering wave action and trapping sediments. In addition, they reduce flooding by slowing and absorbing rainwater, and they help to protect water quality by filtering runoff and by metabolizing excess nutrients.
One example of a conservation initiative that could be proposed as a result of the feedback from this survey is a Salt Marsh Reserve Program. This program would pay landowners to protect salt marshes or other critical coastal/inland areas on their property for 10, 15 or 20 years (i.e., more temporary than a conservation easement). Protection during this time may include implementing land management practices and/or compatible income-generating practices (i.e., hunting, fishing). The feedback from this questionnaire will ensure that SASMI’s protection efforts are responsive to the needs of Dare County salt marsh landowners.
South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative (SASMI) is comprised of federal, state and military leaders, conservation groups, scientists, and community and cultural interest groups with a common goal to protect the southeastern salt marshes. For more information about SASMI, the Conservation Fund or this questionnaire, please contact Margaret Conrad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a Dare County property owner and your land contains a salt marsh, we would appreciate your feedback in this questionnaire. Please submit your response by Friday, October 14, 2022.