One Place Where Salt Marsh Erosion Is Not Caused By Coastal Squeeze – Dec 2013

Coastal squeeze is an idea made up to explain how rising sea levels cause salt marsh erosion.  The need to recreate salt marsh, allegedly lost by coastal squeeze,  is behind EA’s unwillingness to maintain sea defences.

Quay Lane Kirby-le-Soken


At the northern end of Quay Lane there is a pool, which floods towards high tide as water flows over the quay.  As the tide drops water flows back over the quay and out via a sluice.

There is salt marsh around the edges of the pool and a clump in the middle.

In 2012 I noticed there was a hole at the southern end of the clump of salt marsh.


In 2013 the hole is even bigger.  This clearly looks like it’s been made by some sort of animal.


There are two diagrams used by EA and NE to describe saltmarsh.  These have circulated around the world and even crop up in EU documents.  Here is one of them


The claim is salt marsh would naturally migrate up a hill as sea levels rise.  Sea walls stop salt marsh from doing this with the result salt marsh dies.

Solution – knock down sea walls.    Simples.

This idea relies on there being a hill beside the mud flats for salt marsh to climb up, and that salt marsh actually climbs, migrating inland as it does so.

This idea is completely wrong.  This is what salt marsh looks like


There are  three essential features of salt marsh

  1. It is flat
  2. It rises vertically with rising sea level, without migrating anywhere
  3. It spends most of its time out of water, salt marsh is about the level of spring high tides.  If salt marsh is submerged for extended periods it dies

What’s more sea walls were built about 300 years ago in most of East Anglia, and the sea has deposited mud on the mud flats and salt marsh during those 300 years the salt marsh is HIGHER than the land behind sea walls, as much as 1 meter higher.

 As the clump of salt marsh with the hole (erosion) is in the middle of a pool and no where near a sea wall (or a hill) it’s impossible to see how this can be an example of coastal squeeze.

If salt marsh is being eroded by something other than coastal squeeze in one location perhaps that may also be happening in other places.  Perhaps there is no coastal squeeze at all.


Ducks live at the Quay Lane pond and spend quite a bit of their time on the salt marsh where they seem to have  caused some erosion.  Perhaps they also caused the hole in the salt marsh in the middle of the pond.  Either that or some large crabs.




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