Aquatic vegetation is vital to the Chesapeake Bay estuary. Along shorelines, in tidal creeks and along rivers, a variety of vegetation grows in tidal areas.
In salt marshes, short grasses and small shrubs anchor soil in place. These environments are harsh and constantly changing. Not only are plants assaulted twice daily with tidal surges, but storms frequently flood these areas with tremendous force.
Moving back from the salt marshes, vegetation begins to change. Grasses are replaced by pickerel weed, marsh mallows and other wetland plants.
In rivers and creeks, where the salinity is lower, lily pads (spadderdock) often dominate the shallows. In many areas, cypress trees grow along the shoreline, further anchoring the soil from erosion.