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Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Swamp_National_Wildlife_Refuge

The Great Swamp is the remnant of a lake bottom of glacial lake called Glacial Lake Passaic that about 15,000 to 11,000 years ago extended for 30 miles (48 km) in length and was 10 miles (16 km) wide, in what is presently northern New Jersey. The lake was formed by the melting waters of the retreating Wisconsin Glacier at the end of the last Ice Age. The glacier had pushed a moraine ahead of its advance, a rubble of soil and rocks that plugged the existing outlet for the waters that drained into the area normally. As the retreating glacier melted, the waters rose to create the lake before a new outlet began to allow the water to exit at a much higher elevation, hence, the lake became established.

 

The refuge includes approximately one-quarter of the 140 km2 watershed comprising the Great Swamp that is the source of the Passaic River and the watershed's boundaries touch ten different communities, many of which were settled by European colonists long before the American Revolution. Dutch colonists preceded the British, who displaced the native tribes that hunted, fished, and farmed in the area for ten thousand years. The Amerindians had arrived in the area and established settlements shortly after the retreat of the glacier. When European explorers discovered the bounty of their hunting, trade became an established interaction with the natives in what the Dutch claimed as part of New Netherlands in 1614 for almost three quarters of a century prior to the pressure for European settlements that ensued after the British established dominion over what they called the Province of New Jersey.

Exemplary Ecosystem Services

Maintains ecological connectivity/cohesion

Aesthetic/Cultural Heritage Value/Provisioning

Recreation (birdwatching, ecotourism)

Aquifer recharge

Storm abatement

Flood storage/mitigation

Carbon storage

Water quality improvement

Education

Conservation Status and Threats

  • Conservation status

    Federal Protection
  • Adjacent land use

    Residential - low density
  • Approximate natural buffer width

    > 100 ft
  • Other Information

Ecology

  • Approximate size (ha):

    4,800
  • General wetland characterization:

    Inland Fresh Seasonally Flooded Basin/Flat, Inland Fresh Meadow, Inland Shallow Fresh Marsh, Inland Open Fresh Water, Inland Fresh Shrub Swamp, Inland Fresh Wooded Swamp
  • Adjacent water bod(ies)

    Pond, Stream
  • Approximate stream order

    2nd order
  • Name of body of water

    Passaic River, Upper Passaic River Basin
  • Surficial geology

     

    New Jersey’s Great Swamp is nestled within a 55-square-mile natural basin, just 25 miles or so from New York City. It’s a quiet, undisturbed place today. But it wasn’t always that way.

     

    Millions of years ago, the continent of Africa collided violently with North America, pushing up great mountains to the north and west. Erosion has since cut them down to size.

     

    Later, when Africa broke away, hot molten rock flowed up from the earth’s interior, creating the Watchung Mountains to the south and east. Again, erosion has taken its toll.

     

    Finally, about 18,000 years ago, a glacier advancing from the north ceased its forward motion and began to melt, leaving behind a great pile of rock and soil along a line from Chatham to Morristown.  (For enlarged drawings of these events,
    click
    here.)

     

    Together, these three events created the basin that contains Great Swamp today. The basin is called a watershed, because all of its streams flow into a single body of water – the swamp itself. From Great Swamp, the water exits south through Millington Gorge and becomes the Passaic River.

     

  • Soils

     

       

    Somerset County, New Jersey (NJ035)

    Map Unit Symbol

    Map Unit Name

    Acres in AOI

    Percent of AOI

    CanB

    Califon gravelly loam, 3 to 8 percent slopes

    2.5

    0.1%

    CobBb

    Cokesbury gravelly loam, 0 to 8 percent slopes, very stony

    16.9

    0.4%

    CobBc

    Cokesbury gravelly loam, 0 to 8 percent slopes, extremely stony

    2.5

    0.1%

    GkaoB

    Gladstone gravelly loam, 3 to 8 percent slopes

    61.7

    1.4%

    GkaoC

    Gladstone gravelly loam, 8 to 15 percent slopes

    131.8

    3.0%

    GkaoD

    Gladstone gravelly loam, 15 to 25 percent slopes

    4.2

    0.1%

    MenB

    Meckesville moderately well drained gravelly loam, 2 to 6 percent slopes

    17.9

    0.4%

    PaoC

    Parker gravelly sandy loam, 3 to 15 percent slopes

    1.6

    0.0%

    PapC

    Parker very gravelly sandy loam, 3 to 15 percent slopes

    175.1

    4.0%

    PapFg

    Parker very gravelly sandy loam, 25 to 45 percent slopes, rocky

    41.0

    0.9%

    PauDb

    Parker-Gladstone complex, 15 to 25 percent slopes, very stony

    132.6

    3.0%

    UCFAT

    Udifluvents and Udepts, 0 to 3 percent slopes, frequently flooded

    79.8

    1.8%

    WATER

    Water

    1.6

    0.0%

    Subtotals for Soil Survey Area

    669.0

    15.3%

    Totals for Area of Interest

    4,370.1

    100.0%

Flora and Fauna

  • Dominant flora

    Reptiles: Eastern Gartner Snake, Spotted Turtle Amphibians: Red-Spotted Newt, Redback Salamander
  • Unique flora

    Bog Turtle: State endangered, federally threatened Wood Turtle: State endangered
  • Dominant fauna

    Reptiles, amphibians, fish
  • Rare fauna

    Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus) lizard, very rare according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Gallery

  • TheGreatSwamp_14May17_5
  • fern01
  • site01
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