Wet meadow

A wet meadow is a type of wetland with soils that are saturated for part or all of the growing season. Debate exists whether a wet meadow is a type of marsh or a completely separate type of wetland.[1] Wet prairies and wet savannas are hydrologically similar. Wet meadows may occur because of restricted drainage or the receipt of large amounts of water from rain or melted snow. They may also occur in riparian zones and around the shores of large lakes.[2]

Unlike a marsh or swamp, a wet meadow does not have standing water present except for brief to moderate periods during the growing season. Instead, the ground in a wet meadow fluctuates between brief periods of inundation and longer periods of saturation. Wet meadows often have large numbers of wetland plant species, which frequently survive as buried seeds during dry periods, and then regenerate after flooding.[3] Wet meadows therefore do not usually support aquatic life such as fish. They typically have a high diversity of plant species, and may attract large numbers of birds, small mammals and insects including butterflies.

Vegetation in a wet meadow usually includes a wide variety of herbaceous species including sedges, rushes, grasses and a wide diversity of other plant species.[4] A few of many possible examples include species of Rhexia, Parnassia, Lobelia, many species of wild orchids (e.g. Calopogon and Spiranthes), and carnivorous plants such as Sarracenia and Drosera. Woody plants if present, account for a minority of the total area cover. High water levels are one of the important factors that prevent invasion by woody plants; in other cases, fire is important.[5] In areas with low frequencies of fire, or reduced water level fluctuations, or higher fertility, plant diversity will decline.[6]

Wet meadows were once common in wetland types around the world.[7][8] They remain an important community type in wet savannas and flatwoods.[9] The also survive along rivers and lakeshores where water levels are allowed to change within and among years.[10] But their area has been dramatically reduced. In some areas, wet meadows are partially drained and farmed and therefore lack the biodiversity described here. In other cases, the construction of dams has interfered with the natural fluctuation of water levels that generates wet meadows.[11]

The most important factors in creating and maintaining wet meadows are therefore natural water level fluctuations and recurring fire. In some cases, small areas of wet meadow are artificially created. Due to the concern with damage that excessive stormwater runoff can cause to nearby lakes and streams, artificial wetlands can be created to capture stormwater.[12] Often this produce marshes, but in some cases wet meadows may be produced. The idea is to capture and store rainwater onsite and use it as a resource to grow attractive native plants that thrive in such conditions. The Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow is one such project. It is a group of wet meadow ecosystems in Ann Arbor, Michigan designed as an educational opportunity for school-age children. In Europe, wet meadows are sometimes managed by hay-cutting and grazing.[13]

A wet meadow in the San Bernardino Mountains, CA, USA.

See also


  1. ^ Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p.
  2. ^ Wilcox, D.A, Thompson, T.A., Booth, R.K. and Nicholas, J.R. 2007. Lake-level variability and water availability in the Great Lakes. USGS Circular 1311. 25 p.
  3. ^ Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p.
  4. ^ Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p.
  5. ^ Peet, R. K. and Allard, D. J. (1993). Longleaf pine vegetation of the southern Atlantic and eastern Gulf Coast regions: a preliminary classification. In The Longleaf Pine Ecosystem: Ecology, Restoration and Management, ed. S. M. Hermann, pp. 45–81. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station.
  6. ^ Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p.
  7. ^ Fraser, L. H. and Keddy, P. A. (eds.) 2005. The World’s Largest Wetlands: Ecology and Conservation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  8. ^ Whigham, D.F., D. Dykyjova, and S. Hejny. 1993. Wetlands of the World, Vol. 1, Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer.
  9. ^ Peet, R. K. and Allard, D. J. (1993). Longleaf pine vegetation of the southern Atlantic and eastern Gulf Coast regions: a preliminary classification. In The Longleaf Pine Ecosystem: Ecology, Restoration and Management, ed. S. M. Hermann, pp. 45–81. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station.
  10. ^ Keddy, P. A. and Fraser, L. H. (2002). The management of wetlands for biological diversity: four principles. In Modern Trends in Applied Aquatic Ecology, eds. R. S. Ambasht and N. K. Ambasht, pp. 21–42. New York: Kluwer.
  11. ^ Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p.
  12. ^ Hammer, D. A. (ed.) (1989). Constructed Wetlands for Wastewater Treatment: Municipal, Industrial and Agricultural. Chelsea, MI: Lewis Publishers.
  13. ^ Mountford, J. O., Lakhani, K. H., and Kirkham, F. W. 1993. Experimental assessment of the effects of nitrogen addition under hay-cutting and aftermath grazing on the vegetation of meadows on a Somerset peat moor. Journal of Applied Ecology 30: 321–332.

External links

Bear Swamp

Bear Swamp is a forested parkland in Ashfield, Massachusetts. The Trustees of Reservations owns and maintains the property.

Although Bear Swamp was once a sheep pasture and later a source of cordwood and lumber, it now seems much like an untouched wilderness. The landscape is irregular, well-drained, and covered with nutrient-rich soils. Protected from the elements, hardwood trees such as ash, hickory, basswood, maple, and cherry grow straight and tall.

Three miles (5 km) of trails lead to different parts of the reservation. The Beaver Brook Trail traces the southern rim of a shallow pond and wet meadow where an old beaver dam rests atop an old stone milldam. Although many trees have died in the flooded zone, the water is receding and the forest is returning. The Fern Glade Trail features a variety of ferns and woodland wildflowers. A scenic vista on the Lookout Trail and the hillside meadow at the Apple Valley Overlook both offer views of nearby apple orchards and the Green Mountains of Vermont beyond.

Seasonal hunting is permitted at this property subject to all state and town laws.

Browne Lake Provincial Park

Browne Lake Provincial Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located 22 km east-southeast of Kelowna in the Okanagan Highland, near Big White Ski Resort and between the heads of Hydraulic and Grouse Creeks.The park was established in 2004 by Order-in-Council, to protect the Interior Douglas-fir-Montane Spruce transition forest.Browne Lake Ecological Reserve, comprising 114 hectares, lies to its northwest, and had been established in 1973, to protect a wet meadow ecosystem and surrounding forest in the Interior Cedar Hemlock zone.

Buhr Park

Buhr Park is a park in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

There is a large public swimming pool and a smaller children's wading pool with interactive toys. Buhr Park also includes 39 acres (160,000 m2) of rolling hills, picnic areas with barbecue grills, a children's play area, softball diamonds, soccer fields and outdoor tennis courts. The Cobblestone Farm and Museum is located on the park grounds.The Buhr Outdoor Ice Arena and Cross Country Ski Center facilitates winter sports such as ice skating and hockey. It provides groomed trails for skiing set by snowmobile as well as rental, equipment, locker rooms, etc.

The Buhr Park Children's Wet Meadow is a group of wet meadow ecosystems designed as an educational opportunity for school-age children.

County Farm Park

County Farm Park is a 141-acre public park in eastern Ann Arbor, Michigan owned by Washtenaw County and operated by the county's Parks and Recreation Commission. Consisting of a mix of woodlands, fields, and gardens, the park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna and is a popular local destination for gardening, hiking, jogging, and biking. The park has been county land since 1836, although for the majority of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries it was used as the county's poorhouse (complete with a working farm) and then as its infirmary. In 1972, the site began transitioning to parkland with the creation of community gardens, and over the next couple decades various trails and a perennial garden were created. Since 2000, the park has experienced significant ecological restoration efforts, including the removal of invasive plants, prairie restoration, and the creation of a wet meadow during the restoration of Malletts Creek.

Cranham Marsh

Cranham Marsh is a 15.3 hectare Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation in Cranham in the London Borough of Havering. It is owned by Havering Council and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.The habitats on the site are woodland, wet meadow and marsh, and it has one of the few areas of fen to survive in the area. There are three small woods, including Spring Wood, which has species indicative of ancient woodland. Locally uncommon plants in wetland areas include southern marsh-orchid, fine-leaved water-dropwort and golden dock. Insects include a rare bee, Macropis europaea, and 23 species of butterfly have been recorded. It is also a good site for water voles. A tributary of the River Ingrebourne runs through the site.There is access by footpaths from Park Drive and The Chase.

Derwent Floodwash

Derwent Floodwash is a 1.8 hectare Local Nature Reserve and Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation, Grade II, in Morden Park in the London Borough of Merton. It is owned by the London Borough of Wandsworth and managed by Merton Council. The site borders Pyl Brook, and it is designed to store flood waters when the brook overflows, preventing flooding of properties downstream.The Floodwash is a wet meadow which has uncommon flower species, such as spiked sedge and grass vetchling. Ponds have been created around the edges, which support dragonflies in the summer.There is access from Derwent Road.

Duston Mill Meadow

Duston Mill Meadow is a one hectare nature reserve in Northampton. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (WTBCN).This wet meadow on the bank of the River Nene is described by the WTBCN as important for dragonflies and butterflies. It has muddy areas where wading birds such as snipe and the uncommon water rail feed on invertebrates.There is access from Duston Mill Lane and from the adjacent Storton's Pits nature reserve.

Gordano Valley

Gordano (or the Gordano Valley; ) is an area of North Somerset, in England. It has been designated as a National Nature Reserve.The name Gordano comes from Old English and is descriptive of the triangular shape of the whole valley from Clevedon to Portishead, being the ablative singular of the Latinised form of Gorden meaning muddy valley.The valley runs roughly north-east to south-west, between Carboniferous limestone ridges extending along the coastline between Clevedon and Portishead, and another ridge extending between Clevedon and Easton in Gordano. The area includes the villages of Clapton in Gordano, Weston in Gordano, Easton in Gordano, Walton in Gordano, Portbury and Sheepway. The M5 motorway runs along the south side of the valley, splitting briefly into two levels - the south-west-bound level running above the north-east-bound carriageway. The Gordano motorway service station is at the eastern end of the valley, near the Royal Portbury Dock and the Avonmouth Bridge. There is no river Gordano - much of the valley is reclaimed land barely above sea level, and it is drained by ditches (known in the area as "rhynes"). The rhynes previously managed by the now amalgamated Gordano Valley Internal Drainage Board are now the responsibility of the North Somerset Internal Drainage Board.

An area comprising a total of 161.68 hectares (399.5 acres) has been designated as a biological and geological Site of Special Scientific Interest, for ornithological, entomological and stratigraphic interest, notification originally having taken place in 1971. Several sites in the valley are managed by the Avon Wildlife Trust as nature reserves. These include; Weston Big Wood, Clapton Moor, Weston Moor and Walton Common.

The unimproved wet-meadow communities largely consist of variants of the nationally rare Blunt-flowered Rush–Marsh Thistle (Juncus subnodulosus–Cirsium palustre), Soft/Sharp Flowered Rush–Marsh Bedstraw (Juncus effusus/acutiflorus–Galium palustre), Purple Moorgrass–Meadow Thistle (Molinia caerulea–Cirsium dissectum) and Crested Dog’s-tail–Common Knapweed )Cynosurus cristatus–Centaurea nigra) community types In total over 130 species of flowering plant have been recorded including 3 species of orchids, 21 grasses and 14 sedges. The extensive system of rhynes and field ditches contains a rich flora which includes three nationally scarce species: Water Parsnip (Sium latafolium), Whorled Water Milfoil (Myriophyllum verticillatum) and Fen Pondweed (Potamogeton coloratus). The site is now connected to the Severn Estuary by the Portbury Ashlands nature reserve.

Islip Manor Meadows

Islip Manor Meadows is a 23.75 hectare Local Nature Reserve and Site of Metropolitan Importance for Nature Conservation in Northolt in the London Borough of Ealing. It is owned and managed by Ealing Council.Islip Manor was named after the Ruislip family, who owned the estate in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It was part of Northolt Manor until about 1690, when it was sold to Charles Hawtrey. It was farmland until the end of the nineteenth century, and in 1880 it was producing 100 tons of hay a year. In 1928 it was sold to Ealing Council, and now forms part of the Metropolitan Green Belt.The site is a wet meadow which is divided into fields by thick hedges. The ecology is diverse, with over twenty grass and ten leguminous species. Uncommon plants include ragged-robin, lesser spearwort and oval sedge. The site also has the protected great crested newt.There is access by a stile at the end of Arnold Road.

Kawai Nui Marsh

Kawai Nui Marsh (or Kawainui) is, at over 800 acres (3.2 km2), the largest wetlands in the Hawaiian Islands. The marsh is located near Kailua on the windward side of O'ahu and is owned by the State of Hawaii and the City & County of Honolulu. 250 acres (1.0 km2) of the land is from a 1968 sale to the City and County of Honolulu by Kaneohe Ranch. Kawai Nui marsh is a Ramsar Convention wetland site, established in February 2005.Kawai nui means "the big water" in Hawaiian and reflects the fact that this feature was a huge, possibly marine or estuarine, body of water at the time when the area was first settled by Polynesians. Today, nearly all of the marsh is covered by plants, and this is either floating on water, growing on a mat of peat that is floating on water, or in the upper-most parts of the marsh a wet meadow. The latter area is utilized by cattle for grazing when not flooded by high water level. Most of the marsh lies behind a levee constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers for flood control purposes. The marsh is the lowland recipient of sometimes very heavy rainfall in Maunawili Valley. The marsh outlet is through a man-made channel, Oneawa Channel.


The Kiehnmoor is a nature reserve in Germany. It was designated as a nature reserve in 1992. It has an area of 440 hectares (1,100 acres) of which 100 hectares (250 acres) lie in Celle district and 340 hectares (840 acres) in Uelzen district. The nature conservation authorities of these districts are responsible for the reserve. A large part of the area is wet meadow, that in places is intensively farmed. However the majority of the area has been left in its natural state. A small sand heath forms part of the reserve. Its southern perimeter borders immediately on the larger heathland area of the Südheide Nature Park. The Heidschnucken, moorland sheep characteristic of the region, are reared here. North of the Kiehnmoor and immediately adjacent to it is the valley of a partially dammed stream, the Gerdau, and the Brambosteler Moor nature reserve. To the southeast the reserve borders on the Unterlüß Firing Range (Schießplatz Unterlüß), belonging to the firm of Rheinmetall, and the Große Heide ("Large Heath") near Unterlüß, that is closed to the public. Kiehnmoor, too, is totally out-of-bounds. This whole area is very secluded. Rare birds have settled here including the crane and the black stork. Even the otter may be found here.

Due to its seclusion, the good supply of nutrients and the space, the relatively natural stands of wood (partly alder and birch fen woods) create an important habitat for black grouse, a species which is very susceptible to disturbance and is threatened by extinction. Together with neighbouring and the largely contiguous areas of the Munster and Bergen-Hohne Training Areas, the Großes Moor bei Becklingen, the marshes near Sittensen, the Ostenholz Moor and the Meißendorf Lakes, this part of the Lüneburg Heath is home to the largest single colony of black grouse on the North German Plain.

Netalzul Meadows Provincial Park

Netalzul Meadows Provincial Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada. It is located in the Harold-Price watershed, about 50 km north of Smithers. The park consists of an unusual wet meadow complex, as well as a spectacular waterfall and rare plant species.

Oxford Slough Waterfowl Production Area

Oxford Slough Waterfowl Production Area is a slough in Franklin and Bannock counties on the edge of Oxford in southeast Idaho. It was purchased in 1985 from the Federal Land Bank using Federal Duck Stamp funds to protect redhead nesting habitat. The area is largely hardstem bulrush marsh, interspersed with open water and surrounded by areas of playa, saltgrass flats, native wet meadow, and some cropland. The lower areas have visible alkali deposits. The marsh is fed on the north and drained at the south by Deep Creek. A smaller creek and several springs feed the marsh from the west. It is managed by Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Attempts to drain it in the 1950s were marginally successful; the drainage ditches still exist but have mostly filled in. The native pasture is no longer grazed. Most of the meadows are hayed to provide short grass feeding areas for geese and cranes. Most of the dry cropland has been converted to dense nesting cover. The irrigated cropland is used for small grains under a cooperative farm agreement; a portion of the crop is left each year for wildlife.

Papaipema cerina

Papaipema cerina, the golden borer moth, is a bright yellow moth of the family Noctuidae.

Adults are on the wing from September through mid-October and can be found in patches throughout the Great Lakes region of North America. It has been recorded from Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Maine, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ontario.

Their habitats include wetlands such as emergent marsh, southern wet meadow, wet prairie, wet-mesic sand prairie, prairie fen, southern hardwood swamp, mesic southern forest and dry-mesic southern forest.

Pavenham Osier Beds

Pavenham Osier Beds is a 1.3 hectare nature reserve south of Pavenham, on the banks of the River Great Ouse, in Bedfordshire. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.This is a wet meadow next to the River Great Ouse, which has the uncommon flower meadow-rue. Osier is a type of willow which is continually cut, stimulating its growth and supplying material for basket weavers. The Trust is continuing the tradition by planting more osiers.An Osier bed is where historically willows were planted and coppiced to produce withies which were used for basket making, fish-traps, and other purposes. The willow species salix viminalis was typically grown for this purpose. Willow rods (cuttings) would be planted, which root easily in moist ground, and the growth of the willow withies would be cut every one or two years.There is access by a footpath on the left of Mill Lane. There are no footpaths in this small site.

Stanground Newt Ponds

Stanground Newt Ponds is a 0.8 hectare nature reserve in Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. It is managed by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.This site has ponds and a wet meadow, with smooth and great crested newts. Other fauna include common frogs, damselflies and dragonflies.There is access from Hoylake Drive, which bisects the site.

Toll's Meadow, Wymondham

Toll's Meadow, Wymondham is a 1.7-hectare (4.2-acre) Local Nature Reserve in Wymondham in Norfolk. It is owned by Wymondham Town Council and managed by Wymondham Town Council and Norfolk County Council.The River Tiffey runs through this site, which has wet meadow and woodland. There is a variety of small birds and mammals include muntjac and roe deer, bank voles and common shrews.There is access from Cemetery Lane.

Weald Common Flood Meadows

Weald Common Flood Meadows is a 1.9 hectare Local Nature Reserve in North Weald Bassett in Essex. It is owned and managed by Epping Forest District Council.The site consists of two meadows created for flood defence, and managed for biodiversity with the creation of a wet meadow, which is dominated by flowers such as cowslips and ragged robin. Newts and frogs breed in ponds and ditches, and grass snakes and common lizard bask on sunny days.There is access to the southern area from a track off the High Road next to the village hall, but no public access to the northern area.

Whitehall Meadows

Whitehall Meadows is a 11.6-hectare (29-acre) Local Nature Reserve in Canterbury in Kent. It is owned and managed by Canterbury City Council.This wet meadow has typical damp loving wildlife including snails, butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies and reptiles.This site is divided into two halves, with the River Great Stour running between them. A cycle path runs through the northern part.

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