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Wetland Types

Wetlands come in many "flavors" and each type has a unique set of characteristics. In this section, we have compiled the types of wetlands, based on salinity and tidal characteristics, that are found in Delaware.

Salt and brackish marshes cover Delaware’s coast from the upper margins of Delaware Bay south to the Inland Bays. Flooded twice daily by tidal waters carrying salt water from the ocean and bay, these habitats are strongly influenced by salinity - becoming less salty the further up bay, river and stream. Dense stands of Spartina grasses characterize the treeless landscape. A more varied flora and fauna can be found as the water becomes less salty.

Scrub-Shrub Wetland

Scrub-Shrub Wetland

Scrub-Shrub Wetlands

Scrub-shrub wetlands may occur as isolated wet thickets fed by seasonal high water tables (non-tidal situations) or in tidally-fed river bank areas along coastal waterways (e.g. Spring Creek, Cedar Creek, and the St. Jones, Murderkill and Broadkill Rivers). As the name implies, shrubs are prominent in the flora, including: buttonbush, red maple, black willow, smooth alder, marsh elder, high-tide bush, and others, the mix depending on the level of salinity influence. 

Scrub-shrub wetlands help stabilize stream banks and provide cover for birds and other wildlife. Although not as strongly impacted by human activities as many other wetland habitats, certain scrub-shrub wetland subtypes (red maple/ash tidal swamps and smooth alder/silky dogwood swamps) are listed as habitats of special conservation concern in Delaware.


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