Pacific Northwest Wetlands

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Wetlands are the vital link between the planet's land and water masses. They are transition zones where the flow of water, the cycling of nutrients and the energy of the sun meet to produce a unique ecosystem. Special hydrology, soils, and vegetation characterize the wetland environment. Although wetlands are often wet they might not be wet year-round.

Wetlands found in the United States fall into four general categories: marshes, swamps, bogs and fens. Marshes are wetlands dominated by soft-stemmed vegetation, while swamps have mostly woody plants. Bogs are freshwater wetlands often formed in old glacial lakes, characterized by spongy peat deposits, evergreen trees and shrubs and a floor mostly covered by a thick carpet of sphagnum moss. Fens are freshwater peat-forming wetlands, covered mostly by grasses sedges, reeds and wildflowers.