Atlantic Coastal Plain Clay-Based Carolina Bay Wetland

Atlantic Coastal Plain Clay-Based Carolina Bay Wetland occurs in elliptical, shallow depressions in parts of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Nearly all Carolina Bays are elliptical (this is evident when they are seen from the air) and are pointed in a northwest to southeast direction. These wetlands are most numerous and extensive in eastern South Carolina but are also found in southeastern Georgia and eastern North Carolina. Some of these Carolina Bays have mineral soils with clay which causes water to stay in the ponds. Some Carolina Bays are permanently flooded, while others dry out. The wettest sites have open water and floating-leaved aquatic plants, or marsh vegetation of tall grasses, rushes and beakrushes. Some sites often have an open canopy of pond-cypress trees, with diverse herbaceous plants beneath. Wildland fire may spread into the bays when conditions are dry. Fire interacts with flooding to change the vegetation composition. Many Carolina Bays are important amphibian breeding sites. For more information, see NatureServe Explorer.

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