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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's natural communities, contact:
Ryan O'Connor
Natural Heritage Inventory Ecologist

Springs and Spring Runs, Hard

State Rank: S4     Global Rank: GNR   what are these ranks?


General natural community overview

Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for Springs and Spring Runs, Hard in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database.

A "spring" is a defined point at which groundwater reaches the surface (a spring seepage is less easily localized or defined). The "spring run" is a defined flowing channel (these can be braided) fed by the spring. Usually these are short and join other spring runs, a stream, a spring pond, or a spring lake. Total alkalinity is >50 ppm. Alkalinity can play a role in determining invertebrate composition of a site (e.g., those that make shells are mostly associated with "hard" water springs).

Rare animals

Species of Greatest Conservation Need

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

The following Species of Greatest Conservation Need are listed according to their level of association with the Springs and Spring Runs, Hard natural community type, based on the findings in Wisconsin's 2015 Wildlife Action Plan.

Scores: 3 = high association, 2 = moderate association, and 1 = low association. See the key to association scores for complete definitions.

Pickerel FrogLithobates palustris3

American WoodcockScolopax minor1

Dragonflies and damselfliesScore
Delta-spotted SpiketailCordulegaster diastatops3
Springwater DancerArgia plana3
Forcipate EmeraldSomatochlora forcipata2
Hine's EmeraldSomatochlora hineana1

Big Brown BatEptesicus fuscus3
Little Brown BatMyotis lucifugus3
Northern Long-eared BatMyotis septentrionalis2
Silver-haired BatLasionycteris noctivagans2
Water ShrewSorex palustris2
Tricolored BatPerimyotis subflavus1

Please see Section 2. Approach and Methods of the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Rare plants

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

Scores: 3 = "significantly associated," 2 = "moderately associated," and 1 = "minimally associated."
Scientific Name Common Name Score
Carex schweinitzii Schweinitz's Sedge 3
Catabrosa aquatica Brook Grass 3
Conioselinum chinense Hemlock-parsley 3
Eleocharis quinqueflora Few-flowered Spike-rush 2
Triglochin palustris Slender Bog Arrow-grass 3


The following Ecological Landscapes have the best opportunities to manage for Springs and Spring Runs, Hard, based on the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin Handbook.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Major (3 on map)
A major opportunity for sustaining the natural community in the Ecological Landscape exists, either because many significant occurrences of the natural community have been recorded in the landscape or major restoration activities are likely to be successful maintaining the community's composition, structure, and ecological function over a longer period of time.

Important (2 on map)
Although the natural community does not occur extensively or commonly in the Ecological Landscape, one to several occurrences do occur and are important in sustaining the community in the state. In some cases, important opportunities may exist because the natural community may be restricted to just one or a few Ecological Landscapes within the state and there may be a lack of opportunities elsewhere.

Present (1 on map)
The natural community occurs in the Ecological Landscape, but better management opportunities appear to exist in other parts of the state.


Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

What are conservation actions?

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for natural communities


Springs and Spring Runs, Hard Photos

Springs and Spring Runs, Hard Photo

White cedar swamps are rare in southern Wisconsin. In the SE Glacial Plains, they occur at a few sites along the eastern edge of the EL. Headwaters of Nichols Creek.

Photo by Christina Isenring.

Springs and Spring Runs, Hard Photo

Seeps and spring runs are common features of white cedar swamps, which are limited to the eastern edge of the Southeast Glacial Plains. Nichols Creek Headwaters.

Photo by Christina Isenring.

Note: photos are provided to illustrate various examples of natural community types. A single photograph cannot represent the range of variability inherent in a given community type. Some of these photos explicitly illustrate unusual and distinctive community variants. The community photo galleries are a work in progress that we will expand and improve in the future.

Last revised: Tuesday, August 30, 2022