Marshes are the most common type of wetland in North America. They are common along the edges of rivers, lakes, ponds, and the sea. Marshes can also be found in other low-lying areas.
|Muskoka Heritage Areas|
classified as having a marsh:
* Are also classified as being provincially significant wetlands
The water table is low in a marsh. It usually remains wet throughout the year, but not stagnant.
Due to a high rate of photosynthesis and plant growth, marshes are among the most ecologically productive areas in the world. Emergent plants are more common in marshes than trees. Emergent plants are plants that have their leaves/flowers above the water and their roots below.
A large number of wildlife species use marsh areas for some part of their life cycle, depending on the needs of the species and the location of the marsh.
Marshes are great nurseries for:
Many migratory birds also use these areas for shelter and food during migration.
What are Wetlands?
Wetlands are defined as lands that are saturated with water long enough to cause the formation of waterlogged (hydric) soils and the growth of water-loving (hydrophytic) or water-tolerant plants.
Wetlands are Important
Surface water runoff may contain sediments, excess nutrients, viruses and pathogens and/or a variety of chemicals. A wetland acts like a filter to remove sediments, absorb nutrients and biologically change many chemicals into less harmful forms.
Significant Wetlands and the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System
Provincially Significant Wetlands are those areas identified by the province as being the most valuable. They are determined by a science-based ranking system known as the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System.
Ontario is home to approximately 24% of Canada's wetlands and 6% of the world's wetlands. Estimates of wetland extent in Ontario range from 24 million to 29 million hectares, or 22-27% of the area of the province.
Wetlands in a Watershed Context
A watershed is an area of land that drains into a common body of water and involves water and any other natural feature or function that affects or is affected by water.