Seasonal Wetlands Provide Critical Habitat for Wildlife

Scattered across the Upper Midwest are thousands of small seasonally wet areas that may only be saturated or hold water from late fall to late spring or early summer. Seasonal wetlands (also known as vernal ponds) result from winter snowmelt and spring rains, and typically occur in depressional areas in woods and open fields. By mid-summer, most seasonal wetlands have dried out or are just barely moist. Some are almost indiscernible across the landscape.

Although many of these seasonal wetlands may be less than an acre or even a half-acre in size, they provide an important food source for migratory birds, waterfowl, breeding and feeding areas for amphibians and reptiles, and critical winter food supplies for turkey, deer and other birds and mammals.

Seasonal WetlandsThere are many different types of seasonal wetlands including seasonally flooded basins, farmed depressions, hardwood swamps, springs and seeps, and lake plain prairies. If you are lucky enough to own any of these seasonal wetlands, you will notice they are used by a wide variety of wildlife. Seasonal wetlands are gaining recognition as important habitats because of their unique role in the landscape, their valuable wetland function, and the critical habitat they provide for wildlife.

If you have any questions about seasonal wetlands, wetland delineations or the current wetland permitting process, please contact one of raSmith’s professional wetland ecologists: Tina Myers at (262) 317-3389 or Theran Stautz at (608) 421-5317.


About the Author

Tina MyersTina Myers is an ecologist and project manager in raSmith’s Brookfield, Wis., office. Her contributions to natural resources projects includes more than 18 years of extensive experience in multidisciplinary ecological work. She is recognized as a Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) by the Society of Wetland Scientists and is a WDNR Professionally Assured Wetland Delineator.

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