“Explore Nature in a Kayak”
Just north of Lewes lies the Great Marsh, a 17,000-acre coastal wetland near the mouth of the Delaware Bay. To the casual observer, the Great Marsh may seem uninviting. But to those curious about nature, exploration by canoe or kayak reveals another world – a vibrant and fluid landscape governed by the ancient cycle of the tides. The Great Marsh contains a fascinating and complex ecology unlike any other, encompassing diminishing habitats such as fresh and saltwater wetlands, intertidal mud flats and Atlantic white cedar swamps. If these wetlands disappear completely, so will plants and animals that come to rest and reside, including thousands of migratory birds visiting throughout the year. Less than half of Delaware’s original wetlands still exist. In order to protect what remains, the Conservancy’s primary strategy in the Great Marsh has included setting aside lands and waters to establish a permanent wildlife corridor. In recent years, that has included working with the Sussex County Land Trust to secure conservation easement agreements from local landowners to protect 600 acres within the heart of the Great Marsh, and 149 acres along nearby Beaverdam Creek. Protecting these properties has created local enthusiasm for preservation, and a significant amount of contiguous habitat for numerous plants and animals that are rare in Delaware and around the world.
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Great Marsh Preserve
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