What is a Wetland? - Northwestern State University

What is a Wetland? - Northwestern State University

Louisiana Coastal Roots High Read and Discuss "The swamps and marshes of coastal Louisiana are among the Nation's most fragile and valuable wetlands, vital not only to recreational and agricultural interests but also the State's more than $1 billion per year seafood industry. The staggering annual losses of wetlands in Louisiana are caused by human

activity as well as natural processes. U.S. Geological Survey scientists are conducting important studies that are helping planners to understand the life cycle of wetlands by detailing the geologic processes that shape them and the coast, and by providing geologic input to models for mitigation strategies." S. Jeffress Williams, U.S. Geological Survey U.S. Geological Survey Marine and Coastal Geology Program

From: http://marine.usgs.gov/fact-sheets/LAwetlands/lawetlands.html Wetland Characteristics There are three major characteristics of wetlands: water, plants, and soil. Types of Wetlands include: Bog - wetland ecosystem that is highly acidic and has an accumulation of dead plants known as peat

Swamp - wetland characterized by trees and shrubs Salt Marsh - community of plants living in salty soil that is flooded and exposed by alternating tidesfound along the shores of bays and rivers Freshwater Marsh - community of plants living in fresh water found along the shores of ponds, lakes, streams, and some rivers Wetland Characteristics Examples of Wetlands continued

Prairie Pothole - wetland found in the grasslands of central North America Mangrove Forest - fresh or salt water wetland found in tropical areas such as Africa, Mexico, coastal Australia, and the Southern United States Sandy Beach - sandy soil containing vegetation such as beach grasses, often found along the ocean and on bays and some rivers

Vernal Pools - bodies of water that often exist only during the spring and dry up for the rest of the year (source: wetlands.org) Wetland Characteristics Water Wetlands may LOOK dry or wet, but the land/area must be saturated or flooded only

7.5% of the growing season to satisfy the water characteristic of a wetland. Wetland Characteristics Soil Hydric soil wet during growing season making soil anoxic (no oxygen) Organic Soil

Mineral Soil Soil Horizons ____________ Layer ____________Layer ____________Layer Wetland Characteristics Plants

Wetland plants are hydrocytes. They grow in water or in soil that is anoxic. Unique reproduction Fresh water plants Salt water plants How do you think plants and trees remain upright in saturated or flooded soil?

Animals of the Wetlands Wetland habitat for many animals (bugs, fish, mammals, reptiles) Food Web Extinct and endangered species

Functions of the Wetlands Filters Limit flooding Prevent erosion Source of food and recreation Animal and plant habitat Economic Development Louisiana Wetlands

Red River Avery Island Cocadrie Golden Meadow Northshore http://www.wetmaap.org Wetland grasses

Barrier Formations Cypress Trees

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