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S-07.  

Lower Nemadji River Marshes

Back to Western Lake Superior

Counties: Douglas

Photos:

Nemadji River Marshes. Aerial view of lower Nemadji River marshes near Superior Tank Farm. Note cut-off oxbow with pond surrounded by sedge meadow / shrub swamp, 15 Oct. 1996. Photograph, E.J. Epstein


Site Description

The lower stretches of the Nemadji River flow in a narrow steep-sided valley through a heavily industrialized and urbanized portion of the City of Superior before emptying into Allouez Bay. A series of emergent marshes occurs along the inside of the well-developed meanders that are characteristic of this river. These marshes are separated from the main channel by weedy natural levees, which support a mixture of tall wetland shrubs and small lowland hardwoods. The steep clay bluffs confining the valley are generally undeveloped, sometimes forested, and buffer the river system somewhat from the neighboring urban areas.

Important marsh plants include bur-reed, arrowheads, soft-stemmed bulrush, broad-leaved cattail, lake sedge, marsh cinquefoil, water horsetail, and water parsnip. Locally deep, slowly flowing sloughs support stands of wild rice and beds of pondweeds. Drier portions of the wetlands contain patches of sedge meadow dominated by tussock sedge and bluejoint grass, alder thicket, and black ash-dominated hardwood swamp.


Additional Comments

Though the lower Nemadji system has suffered many abuses, it has retained significant natural features and should be a prime candidate for remedial attention. The marshes are representatively diverse, dominated by native species, appear reasonably functional, and support uncommon resident birds. Exotic plants are still quite localized, associated mostly with the disturbed levees and formerly dredged areas near U.S. Highway 2.


Last revised: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 17:21:15 CDT