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Beaver Marsh Trail - #3 - The Importance of Wetlands


What are Wetlands?


Swamps, fens, marshes, and bogs are wetlands; areas where the soil is saturated with water for at least some part of the year. They are ecologically important ecosystems, home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. It was originally thought that wetlands were useless or even harmful to human health. As a result, many were drained and converted into dryer landscapes for agricultural purposes. However, today we know otherwise. They are actually considered some of the most active ecosystems in the world and have many important functions that are beneficial to humans as well. They help to filter, clean, and store waste water and help to store water from floods.


Tell me more about the Wetland in Beaver Marsh.

As mentioned earlier, there are many different species that live in wetlands. Some plant species that are native to the Beaver Marsh area include Indian hemp, boneset, jewelweed, swamp rose, elderberry, button bush and silky dogwood. There are also many invasive plant species as well such as Microstegium, Japanese honeysuckle, Chinese and Japanese privet, rose of Sharon, Iris pseudacorus, and Lysimachia nummularia. One important animal species in the area is the beaver, which helps to control the flow of water and transform wetlands with its construction of dams.

Beaver Marsh comprises of over 25.5 acres of wetlands and flood plain. The Beaver Marsh’s water is supplied primarily by groundwater springs, but there are also streams that flow from the north through storm water culverts at Club Boulevard and Ambridge Street.

Native plant in a wetland


More Info

Headshot of Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D.
Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D.

Looking for even more information?

Check out Nicolette Cagle's September Wildlife Report

Check out Nicolette Cagle's September Wildlife Report

Nicolette Cagle, Ph.D. is a passionate ecologist and environmental educator on the faculty of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. She provides periodic Wildlife Reports on the flora and fauna in the Ellerbe Creek Watershed.



Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
331 W. Main, Ste. 511
Durham, NC 27701

These web pages are the Eagle Scout project of Mathew Jacob.
Thanks Mathew!