Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

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Conservation Status and Threats
Public Access: Yes
Conservation status: National Government Protection
Adjacent Land Use: Residential - low density
Approximate natural buffer width:
  • > 100 ft
Is there any other information that should be conveyed regarding your nomination of this wetland? Preview Code Editor:

The fact that The Great Swamp is designated as a National Wildlife Refuge speaks for itself

General Information
Criteria:
  • Listed on more than one “valuable wetland” list by natural resource agencies or nongovernment organizations.
  • Protects biological diverse wetland flora, fauna and/or their habitat
  • Supports significant numbers of wetland-dependent fauna, such as water birds or fish

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
Ecology
Approximate size: 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
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.

 

If Adjacent to Stream, insert stream order: 2nd order
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 fauna: Reptiles(Eastern Garter Snake, Spotted Turtle), Amphibians: (Red-Spotted Newt, Redback Salamander), fish
Rare fauna: Five-lined Skink (Eumeces fasciatus) lizard, very rare according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Address:
New Vernon, NJ 07976

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