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Piney Point Tract Marsh

Picture of North Atlantic Low Salt Marsh

 

Piney Point Tract Marsh

Five marsh communities are currently present in the Piney Point Tract, and one that was present in 1937 and is now historic (Figure 1, Table 1). Of the five, four have experienced a net increase in area and one has decreased.  Two of the four, however, have decreased in the recent period (2002-2012).  Overall marsh has increased since 1937 but has decreased in the 2007 to 2012 period.

Marsh Community Chart

                                                Figure 1.  Piney Point Tract Marsh

Table 1.  Piney Point Tract Marsh  

1937-2012 (m²)

  1937 2002 2007 2012
Eastern Reed Marsh 0.00 4,306.43 4,306.43 5,758.32
Mid-Atlantic Low Salt Marsh 8,630.52 10,522.90 11,190.71 8,834.53
Needlerush High Marsh 1,259.06 0.00 0.00 0.00
North Atlantic High Salt Marsh 350,501.61 138,797.25 134,977.56 52,212.99
North Atlantic Low Salt Marsh 452,289.70 555,966.15 642,191.37 769,707.75
Reed Tidal Marsh 31,025.07 274,748.87 218,305.13 166,020.58

Overview of Marsh Communities

Picture of Eastern Reed Marsh

 Eastern Reed Marsh at the Piney Point Tract

Eastern Reed Marsh (CEGL004141)

This marsh is a nontidal wetland that is dominated by reed grass (Phragmites australis).  One of the larger occurrences of this community increased in area during the 2007-2012 period leading to an increase in the community area.

 

Picture of Mid-Atlantic Low Salt Marsh

    Mid-Atlantic Low Salt Marsh at the Piney                                 Point Tract

Mid-Atlantic Low Salt Marsh (CEGL00AAA)

This dwarf Low Salt Marsh is found at the marsh-water edge and is a dwarf saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora )salt grass (Distichlis spicata) marsh.  While it has a net gain in area from 1937, it has declined from a 2007 high in 2012.

 

 

Picture of Needlerush High Marsh

     What Needlerush High Marsh may have        looked like in the Piney Point Tract in 1937

Needlerush High Marsh (CEGL004186)

Needlerush High Marsh, composed of needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) and the subject of a previous post, has disappeared from the tract.

 

 

Picture of North Atlantic High Salt Marsh

North Atlantic High Salt Marsh at the Piney                              Point Tract

North Atlantic High Salt Marsh (CEGL006006)

This high salt marsh, dominated by salt meadow hay (Spartina patens), mirrors a trend of decline throughout Delaware in this tract.  This is perhaps the most imperiled marsh in the state.  A decline in North Atlantic Low Salt Marsh may start with the elimination of high marsh.

 

Picture of North Atlantic Low Salt Marsh

 North Atlantic Low Salt Marsh in the Inland                                Bays Region

North Atlantic Low Salt Marsh (CEGL004192)

This low salt marsh, dominated by saltmarsh cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), has increased in area since 1937, largely at the expense of other high marshes.  It is unknown how long this marsh will expand but at some point, it will likely succumb to the same pressure as the other marshlands.

 

Picture of Reed Tidal Marsh

        Piney Point Reed Tidal Marsh

Reed Tidal Marsh (CEGL004187)

Reed Tidal Marsh, dominated by reed grass in a tidal marsh and the subject of a previous series, has increased since 1937 but has declined since 2002.  Efforts to control reed grass have proven fruitful in this tract.

 

 

 

 

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