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

Bedrock Shore

State Rank: S2     Global Rank: G3G4   what are these ranks?


Detailed Community Description from Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin

General natural community overview

Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for Bedrock Shore in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database.

Wave-splashed bedrock shoreline ledges are best developed on sandstone in the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior. Stunted trees of northern white-cedar (Thuja occidentalis), paper birch (Betula papyrifera), showy mountain-ash (Sorbus decora) and green alder (Alnus viridis) are often present in crevices. Common herbs are tickle grass (Agrostis hyemalis), fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), and Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), but the flora often includes unusual plants such as bird's-eye primrose (Primula mistassinica), brook lobelia (Lobelia kalmii), and three-toothed cinquefoil (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata).

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 Bedrock Shore 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.

Aquatic and terrestrial snailsScore
Eastern Flat-whorlPlanogyra asteriscus1

Little Brown BatMyotis lucifugus1
Northern Long-eared BatMyotis septentrionalis1
Silver-haired BatLasionycteris noctivagans1

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 lenticularis Shore Sedge 3
Huperzia selago Fir Clubmoss 1
Packera indecora Plains Ragwort 3
Primula mistassinica Bird's-eye Primrose 2
Salix planifolia ssp. planifolia Tea-leaved Willow 3
Trisetum spicatum Spike Trisetum 2


The following Ecological Landscapes have the best opportunities to manage for Bedrock Shore, based on the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin Handbook.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological LandscapeOpportunity
Superior Coastal PlainImportant

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


Bedrock Shore Photos

Bedrock Shore Photo

Sandstone bedrock forms a portion of the shoreline in the Apostle Islands archipelago. Cliffs, boulders, cobbles and ledges provide habitat for plants extremely rare in WI.

Photo by Emmet Judziewicz.

Bedrock Shore Photo

Sandstone exposures along Lake Superior support a sparse flora that includes many habitat specialists and rarities. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Photo by Emmet Judziewicz.

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