Wetlands In West Virginia



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Have you ever wondered about the magical, biodiverse ecosystems that exist right in your own backyard? Look no further than the enchanting wetlands of West Virginia. This fascinating article provides a detailed listicle of the wetlands in the state, offering you a glimpse into the hidden gems that thrive within its borders. From tranquil marshes to lively swamps, “Wetlands In West Virginia” is your guide to discovering the awe-inspiring beauty and incredible biodiversity of these often overlooked natural wonders.

Wetlands in West Virginia

etland NameLocation (Town/City or Region)Wetland Type
Canaan Valley National Wildlife RefugeDavisBogs, marshes, wet meadows
Cranberry Glades Botanical AreaPocahontas CountyBogs, high-elevation wetlands
Ohio River Islands National Wildlife RefugeOhio RiverIsland wetlands, marshes
Jug Wildlife Management AreaTyler CountyWetlands, marshes
Green Bottom Wildlife Management AreaCabell and Mason countiesMarshes, floodplain
Big Ditch Wildlife Management AreaWebster CountyWetlands, bogs
Bluestone National Scenic RiverSouthern West VirginiaRiverine wetlands
Pleasant Creek Wildlife Management AreaBarbour and Taylor countiesMarshes, wet meadows
Cheat Canyon Wildlife Management AreaPreston and Monongalia countiesRiverine wetlands
North Bend WetlandsRitchie CountyMarshes, wet meadows
Wallback Wildlife Management AreaClay and Roane countiesWetlands, marshes
Plum Orchard Lake Wildlife Management AreaFayette CountyLake margins, wet meadows
Tuckahoe Lake Wildlife Management AreaGreenbrier CountyLake margins, marshes
Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management AreaBerkeley and Morgan countiesWetlands, marshes
Laurel Lake Wildlife Management AreaMingo CountyLake margins, wet meadows
Little Kanawha Wildlife Management AreaWirt and Calhoun countiesRiverine wetlands, marshes
Panther State ForestMcDowell CountyWetlands, bogs
Stonewall Jackson Lake State ParkLewis CountyLake margins, wetlands
Shavers Fork PreserveRandolph CountyWetlands, marshes
Youghiogheny River LakeNear the Maryland borderLake margins, wetlands
Camp Creek State Park and ForestMercer CountyWetlands, bogs
Cabwaylingo State ForestWayne CountyWetlands, bogs
Fox Forest Wildlife Management AreaRandolph CountyWetlands, marshes
Blackwater Falls State ParkTucker CountyWetlands, bogs, riverine wetlands
Coopers Rock State ForestMonongalia and Preston countiesWetlands, bogs, riverine wetlands

Canaan Valley

Canaan Valley, situated in the northeastern part of West Virginia, is the largest high-altitude valley east of the Mississippi. This wetland is primarily a peat bog, a rare ecosystem for this region. The Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge protects much of the valley, ensuring its diverse flora and fauna, including rare species, have a safe haven. The valley is renowned for its stunning scenic views, diverse ecosystems, and recreational activities such as hiking and birdwatching.

Cranesville Swamp

Cranesville Swamp is nestled near the Maryland-West Virginia border. It is a boreal bog, resulting from the cool temperatures and high precipitation created by its location in a frost pocket. The swamp is a maze of lush vegetation, including sphagnum moss and several carnivorous plants. The Nature Conservancy maintains a preserve here, offering boardwalk trails for visitors to experience this unique environment up close.

Ohio River Islands

These are a series of islands within the Ohio River, primarily located in West Virginia. The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge encompasses many of these islands, preserving them as habitats for various aquatic and terrestrial species. These islands are significant as they provide nesting habitats for migratory birds and shelter for rare mussels and fish.

Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area

Located near the Ohio River in Cabell and Mason counties, this wetland is approximately 1,096 acres. Originally the plantation of a Confederate general, it’s now a diverse wetland habitat renowned for birdwatching. Its wetlands, forests, and open waters are home to many species, especially migratory birds.

Red Spruce Knob

Found in the Monongahela National Forest, Red Spruce Knob is an upland bog. The location at a high elevation, combined with the cool temperatures, make this a unique habitat in the state. The area is noted for its dense red spruce trees, moss-covered grounds, and rare plants.

Big Blue Creek Wetlands

Located in the Greenbrier County, the Big Blue Creek Wetlands are unique due to their karst topography, which features limestone carved by water over time. The wetlands are vital habitats for amphibians and offer unique ecosystems based on the water’s mineral content and the presence of sinkholes.

Plum Orchard Lake

This 202-acre lake is situated within the Plum Orchard Wildlife Management Area. While man-made, it has become an essential wetland habitat in the region. It’s a popular spot for fishing, given its abundant stock of catfish, bass, and bluegill. The surrounding area also provides habitat for various wetland birds and mammals.

New River Gorge Wetlands

Within the vast New River Gorge National River area, there are several wetlands. These areas are essential as they help to filter water that eventually reaches the New River. Additionally, they provide crucial habitats for amphibians, birds, and various plant species.

Elizabeth Run Swamp

Elizabeth Run Swamp is located in Monroe County. This area is a rare example of a fen wetland in West Virginia. Fens are unique as they are fed by mineral-rich groundwater, leading to a diverse array of plant life not found in other wetland types. Many rare plants thrive here, making it a botanist’s dream destination.

Blister Swamp

Situated in the eastern part of the state, Blister Swamp is a high-altitude wetland. Its location and elevation make it an essential habitat for various plant and animal species, including some that are considered rare or endangered in the state. Its unique biodiversity makes it a significant location for conservation efforts.

West Virginia’s wetlands are crucial for biodiversity, water purification, and recreation. Each of these wetlands tells a story of the state’s natural history and underscores the importance of preserving these habitats for future generations.

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