Wetlands of Iowa
Reflective Images ... Fine Art Nature Photography

                                   Canada Goose Flying                                

What are some of the names of different types of wetlands? Swamps, sloughs, fens, bogs, marshes, potholes, oxbows, seeps.

What kinds of vegetation can be found in Iowa’s wetlands? Smartweed, sedges, cattails, horsetails, white water lily, duckweed, jewelweed.

What is a fen? Fens are unique wetlands characterized by saturated organic soils (peat) fed by groundwater that is neutral to somewhat alkaline.

How is a kettlehole formed? Kettleholes were formed thousands of years ago from the melting of large blocks of stagnant glacial ice.

What Nature Conservancy Kettlehole is among the largest on the continent? Freda Haffner Kettlehole. Located in Dickinson County in northwestern Iowa, west of Lake Okoboji, Feda Haffner Kettlehole is owned and managed by the Conservancy, and holds state preserve status.

What are Palustrine Wetlands? These are nontidal wetlands covering areas less than 20 acres with water up to 6.6 feet deep. The prairie glacial marshes of north central Iowa with shallow basins within small watersheds are classified as palustrine wetlands. These wetlands have seasonal fluctuations in water level.

How and when were Palustrine Wetlands formed? Palustrine wetlands were formed approximately 10-14 thousand years ago in the wake of retreating glaciers.

What are Lacustine Wetlands? Lacustine wetlands are found in the shallow protected areas of lakes larger than 20 acres with water depth in the deepest part of the basin exceeding 6.6 feet. The wetlands in this system extend from the lakeshore to the point where, at low - water stage, the water is 6.6 feet deep. These wetlands are typically subject to less water level fluctuation than those of the palustrine system. These wetlands are found in Iowa along protected shores of Spirit Lake, Clear Lake, and many smaller lakes.

What is the environmental quality of wetlands? Wetlands occupy a transitional position between terrestrial ecosystem and aquatic ecosystems. Wetlands act as buffers between urban development and groundwater resources. Wetlands are important in maintaining the quality of groundwater resources.

What are some of the species of birds common to the wetlands of Iowa? Yellow-headed and red winged blackbirds, pied-billed grebe, American coot, green backed heron, spotted sandpiper, and common yellowthroat.

What are some of the species of birds that are threatened by loss of habitat in the wetlands? Eared grebe, great blue heron, great egret, black crowned night heron, American bittern, bald eagle, king rail, and Forster’s tern.

What mammals are found around Iowa’s wetlands? Wetlands supply habitat and prey for the muskrat, otter, beaver, mink, striped skunk, long-tailed weasel, raccoon, red fox, white-tailed deer, mice, voles, and shrews.

What are the benefits of wetland restoration? Groundwater recharge, flood storage, shoreline anchorage, erosion protection, sediment trapping, habitat for wildlife, food chain support.

  Canada goose on her nest at a natural wetland area. Lets do not destroy anymore wetland areas.

Reflective Images / GDT 1995 - 20


Iowa Association of Naturalists. 1993. "Iowa Wetlands."

Iowa Association of Naturalists. 1993. "Iowa Woodlands."

Thompson, Janette R. 1992. Prairies, Forests, and Wetlands. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.


mdwhite.gif (2266 bytes)

frog.gif (16719 bytes)                     


 frogDivCLR.gif (4678 bytes)


Environmental Learning Center Nature Photography by Gary D.Tonhouse Woodland Learning Center