More Wildlife and Habitat

More W H 512 W Prairie warbler by Steve Maslowski

Bogs provide food and shelter for many important game species, including furbearers such as mink, muskrat, raccoon, and beaver, and game birds such as rails, woodcock, ruffed grouse, turkey, and wood duck. In the winter, when plants in drier areas have withered, these mountain wetlands are a source of food for turkey and grouse. Bogs are breeding habitat for many species of amphibians, especially salamanders, for which the Southern Appalachians have the greatest diversity in the nation.

In addition to providing specialized habitat, bogs provide important services to humans and animals downstream. Bogs possess a natural capacity for regulating water flow, holding floodwaters like giant sponges then slowly releasing the water to minimize the effects of droughts and floods. Mountain wetlands play an important role in many aquatic food chains, and contribute to the productivity and good water quality needed by downstream fishes, including native brook trout.

Bogs are usually found on fairly flat terrain where water has pooled at or near the surface. Water sources for bogs, which can originate at considerable distances from the actual bogs, must be protected in order to preserve the well-being of the bog as many bog plants and animals are sensitive to water quality and flow patterns.