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Oliver Marsh

Back to Western Lake Superior

Counties: Douglas


Oliver Marsh. St. Louis River below town, 8 Aug. 1996. Photograph, E.J. Epstein.

Site Description

This large marsh occupies part of the St. Louis River Estuary between the Village of Oliver and the City of Superior Municipal Forest. A narrow, natural levee has developed on the outside bend of a channel meander and is partially vegetated with shrubs and small lowland hardwoods. The levee separates the northern portion of the marsh from the main channel. The emergent beds are typical of Lake Superior stands and include bulrushes, bur-reeds, lake sedge, cattails, sweetflag, and arrowheads. Pockets of wild rice occur in several protected bays fed by tiny streams draining the uplands to the east. A deep central lagoon between the natural levee and the emergent beds (that lie adjacent to the upland shore) harbors significant stands of floating-leaved and submergent macrophytes.

Most of the Wisconsin portion of the shoreline of this site is undeveloped and forested with the early successional species paper birch and trembling aspen. Remnant stands of conifers, mostly white spruce and white pine, are scattered along the clay bluffs. Where homes and docks have been constructed (as is the case near the Village of Oliver) erosion is often noticeable. Small patches of the invasive exotic purple loosestrife are often associated with the natural levees or disturbed shoreline areas. Slumps occur on many of the clay bluffs exposed to the direct action of water and ice, especially when they are unprotected by stands of aquatic vegetation. The Minnesota side of the river has more residential and industrial development but also has extensive marshes.

Additional Comments

One of several high quality marshes within the St. Louis River Estuary. Adjoining uplands are a protection priority to preserve the marsh.

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