Beaufort County, South Carolina: Salt Marshes and Wildlife from an Egret's-Eye View

Beaufort County, South Carolina: Salt Marshes and Wildlife from an Egret's-Eye View
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Beaufort Kayak Tours: More Than Just a Paddle!

Beaufort Kayak Tours"Each day on the water is different and unique, and brings its own set of surprises," says David and Kim, owners of Beaufort Kayak Tours. "A dolphin breaking the water's surface for a breath, a skimmer parting the creek with its bill, an osprey catching a fish, millions of fiddler crabs waving their claws at each other; all of this and more awaits them on each tour." Three things that are key to Beaufort Kayak Tours are:

  • All tours are guided by the owners, who are degreed, certified Master Naturalists and City of Beaufort History Tour Guides.
  • They always paddle with the tidal current so that the trips are accessible to everyone.
  • They teach guests something about the local environment and unique area on every trip.

Something not to be missed during your visit to South Carolina is Beaufort Kayak Tour’s Hunting Island trip, where you can learn about salt marsh organisms and their lifestyle, paddle through the beautiful palm-tree studded lagoon where movies such as "Forest Gump" were filmed, take an interpretive beach walk to learn about ocean creatures and barrier island geology, and perhaps even have a swim in the inlet. Your Beaufort Kayak Tour will include all necessary equipment, including a new Wilderness Systems kayak, Werner paddle, and a PFD (personal flotation device).

 

Join one of the pre- and post- conference tours offered by Beaufort Kayak Tours (Thursday, September 22nd, 2011), the special Hunting Island kayak tour focusing on the Salt Marsh Ecology and Barrier Island Geology.

 

 

South Carolina's Salt Marshes: Living Landscapes and Important Habitats

Salt marshes are the dominant natural feature of Beaufort County, South Carolina. A salt marsh is an environment in the upper coastal intertidal zone between land and salt water or brackish water, and is dominated by dense stands of salt-tolerant plants such as herbs, grasses, or low shrubs that are essential in trapping and binding sediments. In addition to supporting terrestrial animals such as migrating birds, salt marshes play a large role in the aquatic food web and the exporting of nutrients to coastal waters, as well as providing coastal protection.

 

According to SCDNR (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources), South Carolina has more marsh acreage than any other Atlantic coast state (344,500 acres of salt marsh). Because salt marshes in South Carolina are influenced by the twice daily rise and fall of tides, they are subject to rapid changes in salinity, temperature and water depth. Salt marshes rank among the most productive ecosystems on earth, serving as a source of nourishment for many species. In spring and summer, marshes are lush green, highly productive and grow in height. In late fall, the green Spartina (cordgrass) begins to turn brown as leaves die and decomposition begins. Water, waves, wind and storms dislodge and break up decaying leaves, and transport them to mud flats and other locations around the marsh. Fishes, crabs, and shrimps live in salt marshes where stems, leaves, and roots provide food and shelter from predators. The young of many species, such as the blue crab, white shrimp and spot tail bass utilize the salt marsh as a nursery.

 

To best experience and learn about the marshes is to see them from an egret's-eye view - from the water!

 

Beaufort Kayak Toyrs - Salt Marsh

The salt marsh and marine environment are full of wild and wonderful creatures, each with a unique, individual story.

 

Beaufort Kayak Tours

Kayaking not only puts you close to the water surface, but also allows you to get into small channels and creeks where other vessels cannot go. The close views and quiet sound of wind through the Spartina grass will be an experience not soon forgotten.

 

Photos by Beaufort Kayak Tours owners David and Kim

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