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Wetland clues checklist

Use this checklist to help you identify clues wetlands may be present on a property; walk the property, including wooded areas, and answer the questions below.

A. Is there evidence of water?

  1. Are there ponds, lakes, streams, springs or seeps?
    Pheasant Brank creek and tower
  2. Are there "low spots" where water collects or the ground is soggy for at least a week?
    Ephemeral PondLow Area
  3. Are there drainage channels or has the site been ditched or tiled in spots to "dry it out?"
    Kilbourn Ditch
  4. If the site is a farm field, are there areas where crops do not grow or the plants are stunted or yellowing during years with normal rainfall?
    Crop Stress
  5. Are there watermarks or stains on tree trunks?
    Water Stains
  6. Do trees have a shallow root system?
    Shallow RootsShallow Roots
  7. Are there areas where water has scoured away plants and leaves, flattened vegetation or where no vegetation is growing?
    Flattend Vegetation from water
  8. Are sticks, leaves, soil and other debris deposited by water in a line on plants and trees?
    Drift Lines

B. Are water-loving plants present?

  1. Are these plants present: cattails, reed canary grass, sedges, rushes, blue flag iris, Joe-Pye weed, New England aster, sensitive fern, skunk cabbage or sphagnum moss?
    MarshBroad Leaf CattailsArrowheadGiantBur-reedSoft Stem BulrushWet meadowSedges with Joe Pye WeedTussock Sedge HummockNew England AsterBlue Flag IrisReed Canary GrassCanada Blue JoinBlue VervainJoe Pye WeedMarsh MarigoldMarsh MilkweedSensitive FernWool GrassBonesetJewel Weed ImpatiensAngelicaSawtooth SunflowerBeggars Tick BidensSmartweed
  2. Are these shrubs present: dogwoods, willows, alder, leatherleaf, spiraea or blueberry?
    Scrub ShrubRed Osier DogwoodSandbar WillowAlderSpiraeaOpen Bog LeatherleafBlueberrySphagnum MossCotton Grass
  3. Are these trees present: willows, silver maple, box elder, black or green ash, cottonwood, elm, balsam fir, tamarack or spruce?
     Trout Lake Conifer SwampTamarackBlack SpruceAmerican ElmCottonwoodSilver MapleGreen AshSwamp White OakWhite CedarCinnamon FernSkunk Cabbage Martins Woods
  4. Do plants have roots growing from their stems above the soil?
    Adventitious Roots
  5. Do trees have multiple trunks or are the trunks expanded or swollen at the base?
    Multiple Trunks

C. Are there wet soils or signs of them?

Dig a hole down 20 inches:

  1. Is the soil dark brown or black?
    Hydric Soil on Right
  2. Does the soil feel moist or can you squeeze out water? [Not pictured]
  3. Is the soil primarily peat (decaying plants) or muck? [Not pictured]
  4. Is the soil primarily peat (decaying plants) or muck?
    Water in Pit
  5. Is the soil gray, gray-blue or gray-green or marked with reddish or yellowish spots or dark streaks?
    gray soils
  6. Are there crayfish burrows -- mounds of dirt with a hole?
    Crayfish hole