We now know that the twice-a-day tides ferry in huge amounts of nutrients that nourish great expanses of marsh grass; outgoing tides help cleanse the marsh. The amazing system makes Georgia’s coast nearly equal to a rainforest in fertility and productivity.
The great fecundity gives sustenance and shelter to untold numbers of creatures: oysters, blue crabs, shrimp, all manner of finfish, birds and other species.
But there’s much more. Salt marshes protect the mainland from storm surges, filter out pollutants, maintain the physical integrity of barrier islands and sequester massive amounts of carbon.
They’re also places of breathtaking beauty — as we saw last week when we gathered to watch the sun set over a marsh that stretched to the horizon.
IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The Leonid meteor shower will peak at about 20 meteors per hour on Monday night. Best viewing: In the northeast sky after midnight. The moon is new Saturday night (Nov. 14). Mercury is low in the east just before sunrise. Venus, low in the east, rises an hour before sunrise. Mars rises in the east just before dark. Jupiter and Saturn are low in the southwest after dark; both will appear near the moon on Thursday night.