Things to Consider
The salt marsh-tidal creek ecosystem is a place of wonder; however, exploring them has risks. Take caution any time you enter a salt marsh or tidal creek and always have a partner with you. They are dynamic systems and the substrate, or surface materials, can change very quickly. We do not want to discourage exploration, just to encourage safe practices. We offer the following suggestions to increase your safety.
- Tidal creeks and salt marshes are composed of “pluff mud.” When you step on this mud you risk sinking up to your waist and getting stuck. If you get stuck the best way to escape is to lie on the mud surface and crawl your way to safety.
- Oyster shells are sharp, and falling on them could cause severe cuts that need medical attention. Care should be taken when walking around oyster reefs as well as when walking or digging in pluff mud, as shells may be buried.
- We recommend you wear shoes that lace up tightly and are completely closed, such as tennis shoes. We also suggest long pants and gloves.
- Black needlerush or Juncus grows on the high marsh and has sharp, pointed tips. These tips will prick your skin, even through clothes, or injure your eyes. Be careful when exploring areas with Juncus growth.
- Regardless of how you are exploring the salt marsh, it is important to know your local tides. You want to know what time high and low tide occur to prevent being stranded or battling the tide to return to your starting point.
- Venomous snakes and alligators can be found in the salt marsh. Care should be taken to observe your surroundings.