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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 their salinity and tidal characteristics, that can be found in Delaware.

The seasonal freshwater wetlands in this section share several features. They are largely freshwater (lack tidal inputs), usually fed by seasonal rains or high groundwater levels, and appear wet at the surface for only part of the year (typically winter through early spring). They also feature some of our most vital habitats for biodiversity in the state (including many species found nowhere else), and are also the ones most vulnerable to loss through human impacts.

Coastal Plain Pond

Coastal Plain Ponds

Coastal plain ponds, also called Delmarva Bays, are isolated, small, shallow, seasonally-wet areas, often circular/elliptical in shape, fed by groundwater/ rainfall/snow melt in winter/spring and drying up in summer/fall. Over a thousand of these exist in the state, concentrated in inland parts of lower New Castle and upper/middle Kent counties. Often surrounded by woodlands, the inner (wetter) zones feature a variety of low shrubs (e.g. buttonbush) and non-woody plants. 

Despite their isolated, seasonal nature, coastal plain ponds provide critical habitat to many rare and threatened plants and animals, and are especially vital to frog and salamander breeding. Many of these habitats have been lost already, and those remaining are vulnerable to development. Preservation of adjacent contiguous forested habitats is a high conservation priority. 

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Page 1: Wet Flatwood Swamp Forests

Page 2: Floodplain Hardwood Swamps

Page 3: Wet Meadows

Page 4: Coastal Plain Ponds

Page 5: Atlantic White Cedar Swamps

Page 6: Bald Cypress Swamps

Page 7: Other Seasonal Freshwater Wetlands  

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