Wetlands are one of the most diverse and productive community types of Richmond National Battlefield Park. Marshes, swamps, and seeps create unique and sensitive habitats that require careful preservation efforts. Beaver Dam Creek is one of the park's smaller units, however, it provides one of the park's most accessible examples of a freshwater marsh. The system consists of small open channels running through a large marsh floodplain, which is contained on two sides by higher forested ground. The channels are home to a diverse fish and invertebrate population. The surrounding marsh supports many wetland plant species and well as amphibians and other animals that require a moist environment.
Wetland habitats may also be found at other park units such as Malvern Hill, Gaines' Mill and Cold Harbor. These wetlands, in addition to their ability to harbor a diverse and unique community of plants and animals, provide several valuable ecosystem functions. Among these is their ability to filter sediment and pollutants from surface water runoff before it reaches associated creeks. This role is invaluable in the maintenance of water quality in the park's creeks, as well as downstream water systems. Because of the valuable roles that wetlands play in enhancing both biological diversity and water quality, the park works to protect these important natural features by maintaining vegetative buffers around them when possible, and by avoiding activities that may alter their hydrological regime.
Last updated: February 26, 2015