Saltmarsh is an intertidal community of salt tolerant plants such as sedges, rushes, reeds, grasses, low shrubs and succulent herbs. The Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh community is listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. In Queensland this includes all saltmarsh communities south of Gladstone.
In the Great Sandy Marine Park, saltmarsh is often found in the upper intertidal area between the mangrove fringe and the terrestrial vegetation. Saltmarsh grows in harsh environmental conditions and tolerates daily fluctuations in salinity, water level, temperature, soil aeration, sunlight and moisture. Saltmarsh communities are often only intermittently inundated by medium to high tides and may support dense algal mats such as those in Kauri Creek in the Great Sandy Strait and Theodolite Creek north of Burrum Heads1. Palmer Creek contains the only saltmarsh and is the least altered inlet along the Woongarra coastline. Saltmarsh habitats do not generally support trees or tall shrubs like those found in mangrove forests, due to the salty environment that they live in.
1 Mackenzie, J and Duke, N, 2011. State of the Mangroves 2008: Condition assessment of the tidal wetlands of the Burnett Mary Region, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
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