Wetland Habitat

Although wetlands comprise a very small fraction of land in the Cedar River Municipal Watershed (< 1%), they are important elements of the Watershed’s biodiversity and provide habitat for numerous species of concern.

wetlands slide show

See slideshow of wetland habitats.

Wetland types in the Watershed include sedge-willow complexes on lake deltas, beaver ponds, perennially saturated fens and bogs, and seasonally saturated mountain meadows. Sedge/willow complexes provide nesting habitat for common loon. Beaver ponds in Rock Creek are now high quality rearing habitat for coho salmon juveniles.

Wetland habitat is also important to other species of concern, including several amphibian species and Bellers ground beetle, a globally rare insect that is found in a fen/bog system in the upper Watershed.

Fortunately, most, if not all, of the wetlands in the watershed are still intact following previous land use activities. But many wetlands have nonetheless been degraded to varying degrees. Impacts have primarily included altered hydrology, disturbance to surrounding vegetation, and invasion by non-native species. We developed a strategic plan to assess restoration needs in and near depressional wetlands and wet meadows (pdf).

We also evaluated the condition of forested areas surrounding wetlands analysis of forested areas surrounding wetlands (pdf).

Goals

Our overall goal for wetland habitat is to protect these important elements of biodiversity and restore any wetland functions that have been degraded by past land use activities. Specific goals include:

  1. Protect existing wetlands from future impacts of watershed operations
  2. Restore and maintain natural wetland hydrology
  3. Restore wetland or surrounding vegetation that has been disturbed by land use activities

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What are we doing for wetlands habitat?

Protect All Watershed Habitats
Managing the watershed to avoid or minimize adverse effects of major events such as fire, spills of toxic materials, invasive species, and excessive human disturbance helps protect wetlands both directly and indirectly. Wetlands are given high importance for protection because of their value to water quality and many wildlife species.
View more information on habitat protection.

Strategic Planning
Because depressional wetlands are critical to several species of amphibians, depressional wetland presence was one of the criteria used to identify areas where restoration efforts should be prioritized. Consequently, several wetland areas should benefit from coordinated upland, riparian, and aquatic restoration actions.
View more about our strategic planning.

Aquatic and Riparian Habitat Restoration
Although direct impacts to wetlands from forest harvest were usually not severe, the harvest of surrounding forests has altered many wetland processes. Habitat restoration of forests surrounding wetlands is intended to restore natural temperature and light regimes and provide cover for animals that use wetlands.
View more information on our aquatic and riparian habitat restoration program.

Road Improvements and Decommissioning
Restoration of wetland hydrology is one of the criteria used for prioritizing roads for decommissioning. Improving and maintaining roads contributes to the maintenance of natural wetland hydrology and prevents sediment input to wetlands from exceeding background levels.
See more information on road improvements and decommissioning.

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