A healthy saltmarsh is key to sustaining our environment. Saltmarshes act as a natural flood defence and provide carbon sequestration, which adds value to restoration and biodiversity offsetting schemes. These unique coastal and tidal sites also play a crucial role in preserving the wider ecosystem, helping various habitats to thrive and providing countless species with ideal nursey grounds in which to grow.
At FiveRivers, we understand that saltmarsh improvement and restoration is exceptionally valuable to the environment and can help to reverse some of the damage caused by either natural processes or human activities.
Saltmarsh restoration is a specialist area, due to obvious restrictions such as work only taking place at low tide and the need to avoid unnecessary disruption to important habitats and nesting sites at certain times of year.
From climate change to oil spills, agricultural drainage and development, there are countless ways in which saltmarshes have suffered. This is particularly significant given that, in addition to their biodiversity value, saltmarshes provide essential ecosystem services to human communities, such as flood defence and control of estuarine nutrient pollution.
Saltmarshes erode over time, a process heightened by seal level rises, storm and flood events, and coastal engineering works. Fortunately, saltmarshes are able to recover if there is a regular and steady supply of sediment, which over time will develop diverse vegetation communities.
At FiveRivers, we work to protect saltmarshes by using nature-based solutions to slow down the velocity of sediment laden water in the incoming tide and cause it to drop sediment. The build-up of sediment over time reinstates the saltmarsh surface and encourages vegetation to grow and establish through natural succession. As well as helping to prevent coastal erosion, the saltmarsh restoration provides a refuge for an array of wildlife, including rare species of birds.
Saltmarsh restoration can only take place during low tide, which means that it is usually preferable for works to go ahead during the summer when daylight is at its greatest. Depending on the location of the saltmarsh, work should also be avoided at certain times, due to the nesting season for a number of red and amber list bird species.