Located behind Pemaquid Beach in Bristol is a 6-acre back-barrier marsh. This marsh is known as the Fish Point Salt Marsh or Pemaquid Beach Salt Marsh.
The marsh is held in private ownership by the adjacent landowners, so public access to the marsh is not permitted. However, the marsh can be viewed from an overlook site at Pemaquid Beach Park, where a 36”x 27” panel stands at the end of a path off the park’s picnic area.
The colorful display (see the full panel below) describes what a salt marsh is, why marshes are one of the most productive habitats, how they help filter and detoxify water, and how marshes serve to protect our coastlines from erosion. What makes the conservation message of this salt marsh panel so important is that estuaries are one of the most threatened of Earth’s ecosystems.
What is an estuary?
The Pemaquid Beach Salt Marsh is an example of a saltwater estuary, with its freshwater inflow coming in part from the freshwater marsh across the road from the entrance to the Park. But, estuaries also can be found where freshwater from rivers or streams and chemically distinct freshwater of a large lake meet and mix. Saltwater estuaries are tidally driven, and freshwater estuaries are storm-driven. Merrymeeting Bay in Maine is the largest freshwater-dominated estuary system north of Chesapeake Bay.
Estuaries are among the most productive and valuable ecosystems on the planet. They provide a source of jobs, food, protection, recreation, and beauty in our everyday lives.
2005 Salt Marsh Restoration
The culvert replacement work was completed thanks to funding from Coastal America, the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment/ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Habitat Restoration Partnership, Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, and the Town of Bristol.
Following the restoration, PWA monitored the marsh for 3 years. The primary objective of the post-restoration monitoring study was to document changes in the marsh to determine habitat restoration success. PWA organized data collection and reporting on the fish, groundwater salinity, vegetation, and birds at the marsh as a baseline for future trend monitoring.
If you would like to invest in the future of the Pemaquid Beach Salt Marsh, click here to make a donation and put “salt marsh” in the Comments field. It’s a tax-deductible gift that will have real impact.