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Your Link to Muskoka's Water!




  • Are the most productive type of wetland.
  • Are very rich in nutrients.
  • Contain emergent vegetation including cattails, rushes, reeds and sedges.
  • Are periodically or permanently covered by standing or slowly moving water.

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


Marsh Characteristics

The water table is low in a marsh. It usually remains wet throughout the year, but not stagnant.


Vegetation in a Marsh

cattailDue 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.

These include:

  • Cattails
  • Bulrushes
  • Arrowhead
  • Reeds
  • Pickeralweed
  • Grasses
  • Rushes
  • Sedges


Wildlife Inhabitants in a Marsh

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:

  • fish
  • ducks
  • frogs
  • insects

Many migratory birds also use these areas for shelter and food during migration.

MNR Wetland Fact Sheets


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.

Wetland Restoration 
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.