Buzzards Bay Coalition Continues to Study Salt Marsh Loss

NEW BEDFORD – The Buzzards Bay Coalition began a new study to monitor the loss of Buzzards Bay salt marshes last fall.

The marshes filter out pollution, provide wildlife and fish habitat and protect homes from flooding.

High-resolution aerial photographs of the bay were taken during low tide and will be compared to future photographs taken under the same conditions.

The data will allow for the identification of marsh loss over time and can point to key factors driving the loss to inform possible solutions.

The study continues a coalition project in 2016 to monitor salt marsh loss.

That study showed that salt marsh islands in the West Branch had declined by nearly half during the past 80 years. The losses also dramatically increased over the last 15 years.

The study did not indicate a single cause of the acceleration on loss of the marshes, but it did point to nitrogen pollution and sea level rise as two key factors.

Dredging projects, erosion from large storms, and grazing from marsh crabs may also play a role.

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