An example of saltwater intrusion on the Delmarva peninsula. Credit: Edwin Remsberg

John Zander’s family has owned a stretch of land along New Jersey’s southern coast for 30 years, but he only recently dubbed the farm “Cohansey Meadows.” Cohansey for the river that runs through it. Meadows for the term that residents of the region use to refer to the vast marshes that create a fluid transition between solid ground and the water of the Delaware Bay.

“This portion is a field, this portion is woods, this is marsh—it’s kind of all intertwined,” he explained while walking a road that August rains had turned to mud. In a nearby wooded area, insects hummed. In an open space where grasses stretched to the shoreline, ospreys flew overhead, dangling fish in their talons.

For decades, his family used the marshes for muskrat trapping and duck hunting and leased the drier land to farmers who grew corn and soybeans. But as salty water from the bay began to encroach, he realized they’d have to reimagine what the land could provide.

“As far […]

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