Riparian wetlands such as along Crewe's Channel at Malvern Hill, Boatswain creek at Gaines' Mill, and Beaver Dam Creek have little water movement, creating excellent opportunities for plant establishment. Beaver Dam Creek, although one of the park's smaller units, contains a rich wetland environment and a prime example of freshwater plant diversity. Visitors to Beaver Dam Creek may see such freshwater plants as arrowhead, marsh grasses, bladderwort, swamp rose, and many others.
The park's wetlands provide some of the most diverse habitat for both plants and animals. As a key component of this habitat, freshwater plants play an important role in the park ecosystem, and throughout the James River watershed, by purifying the water, providing protection for aquatic animals, and controlling erosion.