The term “wetlands” actually encompasses numerous different ecosystems, all with characteristics, plants, and animals that are unique to that place. Here are few that are common in our area.
These lands are formed by the accumulation of both water and peat in a depression. Peat is basically just partially decomposed bits of other plants. The result is a spongy open meadow, sometimes with small pockets of standing water. Bogs are typically acidic, which means it is difficult for most plants to grow there. Certain plants have adapted to these conditions and can be found in the bogs just outside your back door.
If you have ever explored the upper Mobile-Tensaw Delta you have probably come across a swamp. Swamps are characterized by slow or stagnant water from neighboring rivers that has settled into low lying areas. Trees have also grown up in these areas and provide habitat for the animals living there. Around our area, Cypress swamps are very common.
Unlike Swamps, marshes are predominantly covered in grasses. There are both freshwater and saltwater marshes. This ecosystem tends to form at the mouths of rivers, in the deltas. With so much grass, marshes are great at slowing down floodwaters and filtering out debris. Marshes also act as a nursery for many of the seafood we like to eat, including shrimp, oysters, and certain fish.