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Institute for Water Resources Website

Tales of the Coast
Corps and the Coast


Intertidal Ecosystem Restoration

Intertidal coastal areas, such as salt marshes and mangrove forests, are organically rich locations that host large populations of wildlife. Because they are sheltered coastal areas with land and water intermingled, these regions are important nurseries for marine and terrestrial organisms.

Pollution, erosion, and dredge-and-fill operations have damaged or destroyed significant amounts of marsh habitats throughout the United States. Protecting and restoring these coastal areas for their biological diversity and storm protection abilities is an important part of the Corps' environmental restoration mission.

For example, salt marshes are restored and enlarged by adding fill and planting marsh grasses in the substrate. If wave energy in a particular body of water is high enough to quickly erode the added fill, the Corps uses sills to deflect wave energy and allow marshes to become established.

Restored marshes are monitored to ensure there is enough contact with daily tides to sustain the marsh organisms. These habitats provide nesting and feeding grounds for shellfish, shorebirds and many other organisms.

Estuary Marsh

Estuary Marsh
Source: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Intertidal Ecosystem Restoration

Beneficial Uses of Dredged Material: Many types of dredged sediments can be used for habitat creation and restoration projects, from sand to soft clay and silt. These materials can form restored marsh substrate and nesting areas for waterfowl.