Wildlife Diversity and Habitat


Wetlands provide riparian habitat for wildlife, including many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Riparian habitat are isolated or continuous lands, in a natural, undisturbed state and located adjacent to many streams, rivers and coastal areas throughout Maryland. These riparian areas serve as migration corridors, breeding grounds, feeding grounds and shelter for indigenous wildlife and are protected from development by Federal and State laws.

Riverine and other non-tidal wetlands support diverse plant and animal species because of varying aquatic conditions (flow velocity, water depth and temperature) and channel morphology (channel shape and dimensions). These features create numerous micro- environments for wildlife (Mitsch & Gosselink, 1993). Similarly, coastal or tidal wetlands provide a wide range of micro-environments, such as marshes, estuaries, bogs and bays, which support specialized communities of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals.

Wetlands produce an abundance and diversity of species and communities of hydrophytic plants and aquatic animals.

Preserving Wetland Species Diversity

Wetlands possess unique characteristics relating to water, soil and chemistry that interact to form specialized habitats that certain plant and animal species colonize and are dependent upon. In Maryland, a large number of plant species, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians classified as "endangered" or "threatened" are found in specific types of wetlands (Tiner and Burke, 1995).


A Method for the Assessment of Wetland Function, Fugro East, Inc., 1995, for Department of Natural Resources
Wetlands of Maryland, Tiner and Burke, 1995, for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and
Maryland Department of the Environment
A Comprehensive Nontidal Wetland Watershed Management Plan: A Guide for Local
, Clearwater et al., 1998, for Maryland Department of the Environment
Wetlands, Mitsch and Gosselink, 1993, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 722p.