by Richard Steward and Robin Whittle
Estuary saltmarshes are an ecologically unique tidal area of marshland which is regularly flooded with salt or brackish water and then drained by the lowering tide. The River Deben has the highest amount of saltmarsh of any Suffolk River. It extends 18km from Felixstowe Ferry up to Melton. The width of saltmarsh between the river channel and bank varies from nothing to over 600m between Hemley and Waldringfield. Salt-tolerant plants stabilise incoming sediment creating a marsh environment that supports the aquatic food chain, provides essential coastal flood protection and improves carbon storage.