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.
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 ResourcesWetlands of Maryland, Tiner and Burke, 1995, for U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service andMaryland Department of the EnvironmentA Comprehensive Nontidal Wetland Watershed Management Plan: A Guide for LocalGovernments, Clearwater et al., 1998, for Maryland Department of the EnvironmentWetlands, Mitsch and Gosselink, 1993, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 722p.
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