Marshes are a type of wetland dominated by herbaceous emergent and floating vegetation, with some submerged vegetation as well. This sets them apart from swamps, which are dominated by trees. Typically found alongside lakes and ponds, marshes act as a transitional zone between many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Marshes are rich in nutrients and oxygen. Due to this, and contrary to bogs, marshes are an incredibly productive ecosystem and can host an enormous diversity of flora and fauna.

​Spatterdock (Nuphar advena), fragrant water lily (Nymphaea odorata), cattail (Typha spp.), and pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) are commonly seen on our marshes at the VIC. One type of carnivorous plant, bladderworts (Utricularia spp.), also thrives here.

North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) and muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) are the most likely mammalian inhabitants of these wetlands, with an occasional white-tailed deer or moose (Alces alces) sighting. Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentine), and a variety of frogs, salamanders, and fish all live in the waters of Heron Marsh. Multiple species of duck can frequently be found in marshes as well as Canada Geese (Branta canadensis), American Bitterns (Botaurus lentiginosus), Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias), and Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus).


To explore marshes at the VIC, visit our Heron Marsh trail.