Historic floods reveal how salt marshes can protect us
Hatches Harbor salt marsh, Cape Cod. The Hatches Harbor salt marsh is a remnant of a larger salt marsh complex that existed at the time of the first European settlement. USGS. Photo source: ©© Lydia Mann
Coastal wetlands like salt marshes are increasingly recognized as valuable natural defenses that protect coasts against strong wave attacks. Yet their performance during real-world, extreme storms has rarely been told.
By digging into major historic records of flood disasters, a research team led by scientists from the Royal Netherland Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Delft University of Technology, Deltares and Antwerp University, reveal in a publication this week in Nature Sustainability that the value of nature for flood defense has actually been evident for hundreds of years…