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Seasonal Freshwater Wetlands


Depending on the time of year, you may not think that habitats inside the dike are wetlands,but not all wetlands are wet year-round! Seasonal freshwater wetlands like the ones around the Twin Barns, fill with water in the fall and winter, and then gradually dry out over the spring. The Refuge manages seasonal freshwater wetlands by pumping water into them in the fall. With winter rainfall, these areas remain wet until the late spring when warm weather dries them out. In the fall and winter these seasonal wetlands are a great place to watch waterfowl; Northern shoveler, American wigeon, green-winged teal, gadwall, Northern pintail and Canada geese feed here. Migrating shorebirds find food in the drying-out ponds as early spring hatches of invertebrates provide birds with a boost of fat and protein they need to migrate. A cacophony of calls signifies the beginning of the breeding season for the Pacific tree frog. During the summer, songbirds nest in the wetlands vegetation. 

Animals use the seasonal freshwater wetlands for hunting. In particular, red-tailed hawks, great blue herons, and Northern harriers hunt for mice and voles. Vegetation around the edges of the wetlands including meadow foxtail, tall fescue, and a mix of pasture grasses, provide year-round shelter for sparrows, towhees, and juncos.

Birds: Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Canada Goose, Mallard, American Wigeon.

Animals: Deer Mice, Townsend's Vole, Red-legged Frog, Pacific Tree Frog, Garter Snake.

Plants: Black Medic, Creeping Bentgrass, Reed Canarygrass, Velvet Grass, Canada Thistle.

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2012
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