Tidal Freshwater Marsh

Habitat: Freshwater Marsh

Marshes occupy 4,774 acres of the refuge’s 8,219 acres and tend to occur on the peat soils in the center section of the refuge from Back Bay in the north to the North Landing River in the south. The water in the Bay and the River was brackish when numerous inlets occurred along the Outer Banks; they are now influenced more by fresh water, but still have plants typical of brackish marshes. The Nature Conservancy ranks the marshes as rare in North Carolina and apparently secure globally. 

They are dominated by black needle rush and saltmeadow cordgrass with big cordgrass, seashore saltgrass, and sawgrass present in substantial quantities. With frequent fires, the black needle rush is suppressed and the other grasses dominate. In the absence of fire, black needle rush dominates the stand. The staff currently burns the marshes on a 3-year rotation to maintain the diversity of vegetation in the marsh and the palatability of that vegetation. The staff does not survey vegetation in the marshes before or after the prescribed burns.

Facts About Tidal Freshwater Marsh