Sunday, November 22, 2009


At our November meeting, Kenneth Strait from PSE&G, gave a great presentation about the work they are doing on the Delaware River Estuary. An Estuary is the birthplace of all life in the river and bay. A hundred years ago the marshes were diked to dry up wetlands and create uplands for salt hay farms. The invasive marsh plant Phragmites took over the remaining marsh driving out the native marsh grasses. Phragmites dries up the wetlands by creating its own soil. Fish, crabs and small invertebrates could no longer breed among the roots of the native plants.

PSE&G purchased the salt farms and surrounding marshes and set about using science to return the estuary to its natural state. Their goal was to increase the number of fish raised in the estuary. They have succeeded in drastically increasing the number of young fish leaving the marsh but the number of returning adults is decreasing. Scientists are trying to find out what happens to them between the Delaware Bay and the Carolinas.