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Fish Creek Slough

Back to Eastern Lake Superior

Counties: Ashland


Emergent aquatic community with bulrush (Schoenoplectus sp.), bur-reed (Sparganium sp.), duck-potato (Sagittaria latifolia), and cat-tail (Typha latifolia). Photograph, E.J. Epstein.

Site Description

The drowned mouth of Fish Creek and its associated wetlands occupy the head of Chequamegon Bay. Located on the outskirts of the City of Ashland and crossed by busy U.S. Highway 2, this site has been subjected to many disturbances in the past and remains vulnerable to further deterioration unless efforts to address problems are maintained. This wetland is particularly dynamic, owing to the funnel shape of Chequamegon Bay and the seiche activity that causes frequent and sometimes substantial short-term water level changes.

The primary wetland communities are emergent marsh, shrub swamp, and hardwood swamp. The open waters of the "sloughs" also constitute an important feature. The emergent marsh occupies several hundred acres close to the creek mouth. Dominants include bur-reeds, bulrushes, lake sedge, arrowhead and water sedge. Beds of submergent and floating-leaved aquatic macrophytes occur in the open waters of the sloughs and intermingle with the emergents where conditions are suitable. The marsh grades into a shrub swamp of speckled alder and willows, eventually giving way to an extensive forest of swamp hardwoods, containing mostly ashes.

Near the mouth of Fish Creek, flats of sand and mud exposed when the water level is low are used heavily by waterfowl, gulls, terns, and shorebirds as loafing or feeding sites. Efforts to maintain the functional values of this site should continue, as Fish Creek Sloughs are important wildlife and fish habitat. Purple loosestrife control is a critical management need.

Additional Comments

Though somewhat compromised by the location of Highway 2, the wetland communities are extensive, in generally good condition, and provide significant habitat for many wildlife species, including several that are rare.

Last revised: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 17:21:11 CDT