The Blue and Gold

Foster City Salt Marsh

Makena Anderson, Journalists

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Foster City Salt Marsh

 

Don’t know what a salt marsh is? Well, you should, since Foster City is built on one. No worries, I’m here to tell you all about it. A salt marsh is an area of coastal grassland that is regularly flooded by seawater. It’s important to have healthy salt marshes because it’s crucial to the environment’s health. It protects communities from rising sea levels and storms, supports breeding grounds for commercially valuable fish, and filters nutrients and pollution from the water. The species currently residing in our San Francisco Bay salt marshes are gray fox, ground squirrel, Blue crabs, Jack rabbits, Pickleweed, Waterfowl shorebird, Gopher snake, and many other mammals and reptiles. There are also species of mammals and reptiles called invasive species, living in our salt marsh. Invasive species is a species that is not native to a specific location and invades the natural habitat of other mammals and reptiles. There are many invasive species in our marshes.  One such species is the house mouse, which lure in burrowing owls that eat native petrels, and throw off the food chain. Zebra mussels, alters the water’s pH level, and kill phytoplankton, while Green Crabs, causes danger to the native Dungeness crab because it eats all their prey. Some native species that are not present in the salt marsh are Clear Lake splittail, Sooty Crayfish, Lost thistle, and Pitkin Marsh Indian paintbrush . Humans have a huge impact when it comes to our salt marshes. Humans have cut off tidal flow to certain areas, Jack Foster filled the city up with 18 million cubic yards of sand and mud to get Foster City above sea level, The “new world Venice” was controversial as it changed the flow of other parts of the Bay, and the closed off streams, and change in sea level changed the tidal flow. We humans have affected the salt marshes by filling and because we filled, it reduced the size of the Bay by one-third, destroyed 90% of Foster City’s marshes (90% of natural plants and animals gone as well), and as a result, Foster City was built on 4 square miles of former wetlands. 90% of trash on the marshland is not biodegradable, and  society spills, dumps, and leaks contributed to the 3 million gallons of oil in our streams. Some of the most common pollution are mercury, plastic, pet waste, glass shards, sewage, and trash bags. Mercury is toxic to almost all living things, and causes mercury poisoning. Plastic can trick the food chain by being mistaken for food, and killing off marine life. Pet waste can wash into storm drains, and degrade water levels. Glass shards can be swallowed by marine life, and potentially kill them and trash bags can also kill off marine life. I hope you learned a lot about our current salt marshes and the state they´re in now.

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