Clearwater Soil and Water Conservation District
 
Clearwater Soil & Water Conservation District
 

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Wetlands

WHAT IS A WETLAND?
Wetland is a term used to describe a wide variety of wet environments from a shallow depression that holds water for a short time to a forest swamp with water-logged soils to ponds with water up to 6ft deep.  Regardless of how long they hold water or how deep the water is, all wetlands share the following three characteristics:

  • Vegetation that is adapted to wet soil conditions-
    While some Wetland plants only grow in wet soil conditions, many
    “wetland plants” can grow  in either wet or upland conditions, although the majority of the time they will be found in wet areas. Common wetland vegetation includes willows, sedges,  Alder, Black Ash, Black Spruce, White Cedar, Tamarac, Balsam Poplar, Cattails, Rushes, Cinnamon Fern,Canada Bluejoint  Grass, Ostrich Fern, and Reed Canary Grass.

For more information on wetland plants in our region click on this llink: Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin

  • Soils that have formed under wet conditions-        
    Under prolonged water saturation, the oxygen normally available for plants is not available and anaerobic conditions develop. These soils are also called hydric soils.
  • Hydrology indicators present-
    Hydrology indicators are visual signs, such as water marks or debris, that show previous water levels.

WETLAND TYPES
Because wetlands vary so much in shape, size, plants and hydrology, wetlands are classified by these characteristics into types. For information about the variety of systems for classifying wetlands thw following links are great resources: Wetlands Circular 39, Cowardin, and Eggers and Reed Wetland Plant Communities. Using the Eggers and Reed system, in Minnesota, we have 12 different types of wetland communities. 

BENEFITS OF WETLANDS
Wetlands provide many important benefits to us. Among the benefits are ground water recharge and discharge, natural filters of water, flood control, recreation opportunities, wildlife habitat and erosion control for lakeshore and riverbanks.  With the recognition and increasing awareness of the value of wetlands, the state on Minnesota, as well as many other states and the Federal government, begin to regulate activities in wetlands.  Through this regulation the loss of wetlands has been greatly reduced.  For information on the Wetland Conservation Act and other wetland regulation information click here.

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312 Main Avenue North, Suite 3  ~ Bagley, Minnesota 56621 ~ 218.694.6845
 
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