Planimetry studies of coastal geology maps prepared by the Maine Geological Survey show that there is more than an order of magnitude more tidal marsh area in the state of Maine than documented in previously published estimates. The highly convoluted coast of Maine, which is approximately 5,970 km long, contains almost 79 km2 of salt marsh, far more than any other New England state, New York, or the Bay of Fundy region. Reasonable estimates for the per-unit primary productivity of salt marshes lead to projections of total marsh productivity on the order of 1010 g dry weight yr-1 for the Maine coast and 1011 g dry weight yr-1 for the Gulf of Maine as a whole. Distribution of tidal marsh area is strongly controlled by coastal geomorphology, which varies considerably along the coast of Maine. The salt marsh area is concentrated in the southwestern coastal region of arcuate bays, where marshes have developed behind sandy beaches. A series of long islands and bedrock peninsulas in the south-central portion of the coast also provides sheltered areas where large marshes occur. Northeast of Penobscot Bay salt marshes become more numerous and smaller in average areal extent. A lack of protection from waves, along with limited sources of glacio-fluvial and glacio-marine sediments, restricts the occurrence of salt marshes in that region to the frignes of coves and tidal rivers. ?? 1987 Estuarine Research Federation.
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Distribution and abundance of tidal marshes along the coast of maine