Managed Wetlands

Habitat: Managed Wetlands
Managed Wetland on Pea Island by CIndy Heffley

 The managed wetlands are manmade impoundments with borrow canals around the perimeter that may include open water, moist soil, exposed sand/mud flats, and emergent vegetation with varying amounts and management regimes. Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge has three impoundments: 390-acre North Pond, 192-acre New Field Pond, and 208-acre South Pond. Plant communities within the impoundments include maritime wet grassland, maritime shrub, salt marsh, brackish marsh, and open water. Open water areas typically have a bottom substrate dominated by sago pondweed, wigeon grass, and muskgrass. Horned pondweed has been identified on occasion. The refuge staff manages this wetland community primarily for wintering waterfowl and spring shorebird migration.   

The staff manages the areas by draining water in the spring to create mudflats for shorebirds and allow annual seed-bearing plants, maintaining it at a low elevation through the late summer shorebird migration, and allowing them to fill or pumping water to fill them for waterfowl migration in the fall. The staff fills the impoundments by opening the water control structures when the tide is appropriate to fill or drain them whenever possible. The impoundments are burned, mowed, and/or disked as needed to suppress succession to perennial herbaceous and woody plants.

Facts About Managed Wetlands

Typical Plants: 

  • sago pondweed
  • wigeon grass
  • muskgrass
  • horned pondweed    

Communities Included: 

  • maritime wet grassland
  • maritime shrub
  • salt marsh
  • brackish marsh
  • and open water