Back River and Hockomock Bay by Beginning with Habitat

Marshes along the Sasanoa and Back Rivers make up one of the largest brackish tidal marsh systems in Maine. Extending southeastward from Bath, these wetlands form a transition zone from the freshwater tidal systems of Merrymeeting Bay to the saltwater systems near the Kennebec’s mouth. Below Merrymeeting Bay, brackish waters and strong tidal currents prevent freezing, and the estuary offers critical wintertime habitat for waterfowl.

The salt marshes along the Back River in Georgetown are long and linear, covering nearly a thousand acres. The marsh vegetation exhibits distinct patterns of zonation, with cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora), seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), and silverweed (Argentina anserina) dominant along the edges of creeks. Meadows of salt hay (Spartina patens) cover the majority of the marsh, which is dotted with slightly depressed pools or pannes. Arrow-grass (Triglochin maritimum), seaside plantain (Plantago maritima), and the rare seaside gerardia (Agalinis maritima) colonize the pools and pannes.

Uplands along the Back River are oak-pine forests with small, scattered freshwater wetlands. Spotted turtles (Clemmys guttata) occur in a few locations near the Back River, including three sightings at Trafton Meadow, the easternmost place at which the species has been recorded.

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