Riparian Wetlands

What Am I Looking At?

Did you know that â…“ of the nation’s threatened and endangered species live only in wetlands?It is possible that this large area of dead trees is due to the past beaver dam and beaver activity. It is quite likely that when beavers dammed the river it caused significant flooding in this area.

What is a Riparian Wetland?

These are wetlands adjacent to the channel of a stream or river. This area is a wetland adjacent to the Batson River.

Red-shouldered hawks are large, broad-winged hawks with long tails. This species is listed as threatened or endangered in several U.S. states, but has been spotted here at the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.

What's the big deal about wetlands?

  • Wetlands are among the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. They are home to many species that can only live in wetlands.
  • Wetland plants and soils naturally store and filter nutrients—as a result our rivers are cleaner. They also hold the soil in place to protect from erosion.
  • Wetlands adjacent to rivers flood on a fairly regular basis. This allows for the movement of nutrients, sediment, and organic matter to create rich soils.
  • Wetlands are like sponges. They soak up and slowly release water, protecting areas from flooding.
  • Roughly 200 species of birds rely on wetlands for feeding, nesting, foraging, and roosting. Can you see birds out in our wetlands? Some of them are the red-shouldered hawk, owls, kingfisher, woodpeckers, warblers, and most commonly, ducks.
  • Wetlands are not just for birds. Many mammals need the wetlands as well. Animals such as muskrats, beavers, raccoons, and deer are known to use and live near wetlands.
  • Don’t forget flat worms, leeches, fairy shrimp, and frogs. All of these things have a part in the food chain and are important to the balance of the habitat in this area.

Muskrat Tracks
Courtesy Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

What's Next?

Looking out into the wetlands, where do you see places that animals could nest? There are lots of different places for lots of different animals—see if you can find four.