Saltwater Wetlands

In Prince Edward Island, 5% of the land is covered in wetlands. Of this total, only 20% consists of salt or tidal marshes. Salt marshes rank among the world's most fertile ecosystems, nourishing a variety of animal species with nutrients carried by tides. They play a vital role in carbon sequestration, ground water purification, recreational enjoyment, and much more.

These ecosystems are scattered all across the province. There are many salt marshes within the Stratford Area Watershed boundaries, some of which include Stewart’s Cove, Kinlock Creek, Burke’s Creek, Fullerton’s Creek and areas within Alexandra. 

Common Salt Marsh Plant Species 

Rough Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata), Saltmeadow Cordgrass (Spartina patens), and Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) are common in PEI marshes and have a strong historical significance on the island. These 3 grasses are commonly referred to as 'marsh hay' and were important to Acadian populations, that used the hay to feed livestock over the winter months.

Other common plant species include; Seaside Plantain (Plantago maritima), Sea Lavendar (Limonium carolinianum), and Sweetgrass (Anthoxanthum nitens. Sweetgrass also has cultural significance to Indigenous Communities on PEI and across Canada. 

Plant species in saltwater wetlands have evolved mechanisms designed to cope with the influx of salt water, allowing several species to thrive in this tidal region.

Carbon testing being carried out on a bed of marsh hay

Sea Lavendar, Photo credit: Kate MacQuarrie

Common Salt Marsh Animal Species 

Blue heron caught on trail camera in Jordon's Pond, Stratford 

Salt marsh plant species provide key habitats to animals for nesting and nutrition. 

Mammals include; mink, coyote, fox, raccoon, and muskrat.

Bird species include; osprey, bald eagle, black duck, great blue heron, and red-winged blackbird.

Finfish and shellfish include; mussels, mummichog, eels, and crabs.


"Salt Marshes Part 1: Ecology" from (n.d.). Salt Marshes Part 1: Ecology. Retrieved from [](

"Salt Marshes Part 2: Cultural" from (n.d.). Salt Marshes Part 2: Cultural. Retrieved from [](

Government of Prince Edward Island. (n.d.). Ponds and Wetlands. Retrieved from [](