Dare County residents who own land with salt marsh are being asked to answer a five-minute survey to help the South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative develop programs and incentives for land conservation.
Dare County Soil and Water Conservation District, the South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative and the Conservation Fund, an environmental nonprofit, are working together on the effort are.
Landowners are being asked to compete the online survey by Friday, Oct. 14.
South Atlantic Salt Marsh Initiative is made up of federal, state and military leaders, conservation groups, scientists, and community and cultural interest groups with a common goal to protect the southeastern salt marshes.
A salt marsh is a coastal wetland that is flooded and drained by saltwater brought in by the tides, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These intertidal habitats provide food, refuge or nursery habitats for more than 75% of fisheries species, including shrimp, blue crab and many finfish.
Salt marshes help protect shorelines from erosion by buffering wave action and trapping sediments, reduce flooding by slowing and absorbing rainwater, and help protect water quality by filtering runoff and by metabolizing excess nutrients.
One example officials gave of a conservation initiative that could be proposed as a result of the feedback from the survey is a Salt Marsh Reserve Program. The program would pay landowners to protect salt marshes or other critical coastal and inland areas on their property for 10, 15 or 20 years. Protection during this time may include implementing land management practices or compatible income-generating practices such as hunting or fishing.
For more information about the initiative, the Conservation Fund or this questionnaire, please contact Margaret Conrad at firstname.lastname@example.org.