Wetlands and Ponds

Characterized by saturated soils, slow or stagnant water, can be permanent or seasonal
Beaver ponds and freshwater wetlands provide important habitat for many refuge residents/USFWS Photo

Freshwater wetlands on the Refuge are diverse habitats and include swamps, marshes, seeps, springs, bogs, and seasonal wetlands. Ponds, such as those created by beavers, are also included in this habitat type. They are home to a variety of wildlife and serve as nurseries for amphibians, dragonflies and fish. Aquatic plants often have less structure because they will be supported by water at least part of the time. Freshwater wetlands and surrounding vegetation support a variety of birds such as great blue herons, marsh wrens, common yellowthroats, red-winged blackbirds, and song sparrows

Freshwater marsh and bog communities scattered throughout the refuge host plants such as skunk cabbage, yellow pond lily, pondweeds, bladderworts, grasses, sedges, and rushes.

The freshwater wetlands found at the Leadbetter Point Unit of the Refuge on the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula are unique and of high quality. These wetlands are composed of five recognized plant communities and occur in relationship to a moisture gradient (from seasonally wet and seasonally dry to permanently flooded).  Slough sedge and Pacific silverweed are found in the moister zones of these habitats. These wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl, waterbirds, songbirds, amphibians, and invertebrates.

Beaver ponds are important habitats for wintering and juvenile coho and cutthroat trout. Because beavers build dams on streams they increase the abundance of woody debris and cause ponding that may kill nearby trees which become inundated by water. These standing dead trees, or snags, are important nesting habitat for wood ducks, tree swallow and woodpeckers. They also become hunting perches for raptors, kingfishers, flycatchers, and dragonflies.

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Facts About Wetlands and Ponds

Are generally found near permanent water bodies (lakes, rivers, oceans, bays)

Can soak up ‘excess’ waters from rains or floods like a sponge quickly and then release slowly

Serve as filters and buffers because they slow currents and trap sediments