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Scientific Name: Laurentian-Acadian Freshwater Marsh
Unique Identifier: CES201.594

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Summary: These freshwater emergent and/or submergent marshes are dominated by herbaceous vegetation. They are common throughout the northeastern United States and adjacent Canadian provinces. Freshwater marshes occur in closed or open basins that are generally flat and shallow. They are associated with lakes, ponds, slow-moving streams, and/or impoundments or ditches. The herbaceous vegetation does not persist through the winter. Scattered shrubs are often present and usually total less than 25% cover. Trees are generally absent and, if present, are scattered. The substrate is typically muck over mineral soil. Examples of vegetation in the Delaware Estuary freshwater marsh communities include Typha latifolia, Typha angustifolia, Phragmites australis, Schoenoplectus americanus, Thelypteris palustris, Impatiens capensis, Carex spp., Vallisneria americana, Potamogeton perfoliatus, Nuphar advena (= Nuphar lutea ssp. advena), and Nymphaea odorata.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES201.582 Laurentian-Acadian Wet Meadow-Shrub Swamp
CES202.899 North-Central Interior Freshwater Marsh

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002026 Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani - Typha spp. - (Sparganium spp., Juncus spp.) Marsh
CEGL002221 Bolboschoenus fluviatilis - Schoenoplectus spp. Marsh
CEGL002225 Schoenoplectus acutus - (Bolboschoenus fluviatilis) Freshwater Marsh
CEGL002229 Typha spp. - Schoenoplectus acutus - Mixed Herbs Midwest Marsh
CEGL002282 Potamogeton spp. - Ceratophyllum spp. Midwest Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL002382 Zizania (aquatica, palustris) Marsh
CEGL002386 Nuphar advena - Nymphaea odorata Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL002562 Nymphaea odorata - Nuphar (microphylla, variegata) Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL002563 Nymphaea tetragona - Nuphar (microphylla, variegata) Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL005258 Equisetum fluviatile - (Eleocharis palustris) Marsh
CEGL006153 Typha (angustifolia, latifolia) - (Schoenoplectus spp.) Eastern Marsh
CEGL006191 Pontederia cordata - Peltandra virginica - Sagittaria latifolia Marsh
CEGL006196 Vallisneria americana - Potamogeton perfoliatus Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL006275 Schoenoplectus (tabernaemontani, acutus) Eastern Marsh
CEGL006345 Juncus militaris - Eriocaulon aquaticum Marsh
CEGL006346 Eriocaulon aquaticum - Lobelia dortmanna Marsh
CEGL006349 Scirpus cyperinus Wet Meadow
CEGL006358 Schoenoplectus acutus - Carex lasiocarpa Marsh
CEGL006366 Bolboschoenus fluviatilis Marsh
CEGL006431 Elodea canadensis - Potamogeton spp. Eastern Aquatic Vegetation
CEGL006446 Bidens cernua - Verbena hastata - Polygonum spp. Marsh


Land Cover Class: Herbaceous Wetland
Spatial Pattern: Large patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: No
Wetland: Yes
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Depressional Lakeshore
Riverine / Alluvial  
Shallow (<15 cm) Water  
>180-day hydroperiod  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Extensive Wet Flat  
Depressional Pond
Aquatic Herb  
Circumneutral Water  
Acidic Water  
Moderate (100-500 yrs) Persistence  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Catinella exile
  (Pleistocene Catinella)
Clonophis kirtlandii
  (Kirtland's Snake)
Grus americana
  (Whooping Crane)
G1 LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population
Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea
  (Fassett's Locoweed)
G5T1T2 LT: Listed threatened
Somatochlora hineana
  (Hine's Emerald)
G2G3 LE: Listed endangered

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Comarum palustre G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
Oxytropis campestris var. chartacea T1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Pontederia cordata G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
Sagittaria latifolia G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
Isoetes lacustris G5 Fern (Spore-bearing forb) Herb (field)      
Carex conoidea G5 Graminoid Herb (field)      
Juncus militaris G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
Schoenoplectus acutus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
Schoenoplectus americanus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
Typha latifolia G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    

Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
Catinella exile
  (Pleistocene Catinella)
Chlosyne harrisii
  (Harris's Checkerspot)
Chrysemys picta
  (Northern Painted Turtle)
Clonophis kirtlandii
  (Kirtland's Snake)
Grus americana
  (Whooping Crane)
G1 LE, XN: Listed endangered, nonessential experimental population    
Hemileuca lucina
  (New England Buckmoth)
Lithobates catesbeianus
  (American Bullfrog)
Lithobates clamitans
  (Green Frog)
Ondatra zibethicus
  (Common Muskrat)
Somatochlora hineana
  (Hine's Emerald)
G2G3 LE: Listed endangered    
Vison vison
  (American Mink)

Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: MA, ME, MI, MN, NH, NY, VT, WI
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: NB, ON, QC
Global Range: This system occurs in New England and northern New York west across the upper Great Lakes to Minnesota, and adjacent Canada, mostly north of the glacial boundary.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
201-Laurentian-Acadian C: Confident or certain
202-Central Interior and Appalachian C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
47 Superior Mixed Forest Confident or certain
48 Great Lakes Confident or certain
49 Western Allegheny Plateau Confident or certain
59 Central Appalachian Forest Confident or certain
60 High Allegheny Plateau Confident or certain
61 Lower New England / Northern Piedmont Confident or certain
63 Northern Appalachian-Boreal Forest Confident or certain
64 St. Lawrence-Champlain Valley Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
41 Northern Lake Country Confident or certain
49 Central Till Plains Possible
50 Central Great Lakes Uplands Confident or certain
51 Great Lakes Plains Confident or certain
52 Eastern Till Plains Possible
60 Chesapeake Bay Confident or certain
61 Northern Appalachia Confident or certain
62 Allegheny Plateau Predicted or probable
63 Finger Lakes Confident or certain
64 Northeastern Highlands Confident or certain
65 Connecticut River Basin and Highlands Confident or certain
66 The North Woods Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9405

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Element Description Edition Date: 20Aug2015
Element Description Author(s): E. Largay

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Comer, P. J., and D. A. Albert. 1997. Natural community crosswalk. Unpublished draft of February 20, 1997. Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2014a. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • Kost, M. A., D. A. Albert, J. G. Cohen, B. S. Slaughter, R. K. Schillo, C. R. Weber, and K. A. Chapman. 2007. Natural communities of Michigan: Classification and description. Report No. 2007-21, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing. 314 pp. []

  • Sperduto, D. D., and W. F. Nichols. 2004. Natural communities of New Hampshire: A guide and classification. New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau, DRED Division of Forests and Lands, Concord. 242 pp.

  • WDNR [Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]. 2015. The ecological landscapes of Wisconsin: An assessment of ecological resources and a guide to planning sustainable management. PUB-SS-1131 2015. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison. []

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Copyright 2019
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: March 2019