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Aquatic beds are characterized by plants that form a continuous layer on or at the water's surface. They can include algal mats, detached floating mats, and rooted plants, which are submerged, or have floating leaves, but at least 80 percent of their area is vegetated.
Aquatic Beds can occur within
inland and Great Lakes marshes where they are often referred to as the
submergent zone. Aquatic Beds can also occur further out from the shore,
where there is sufficient light to permit plant growth. In areas protected
from strong wave action, such as Anchor Bay, the bottom is almost entirely
populated with plants, whereas they are scarce in the main part of the
lake where the bottom is scoured by waves.
Aquatic beds provide valuable habitat for fish and other aquatic animals and a re a critcal source of food for migrating waterfowl in fall. Wild celery is a particularly valuable food for diving ducks such as canvasbacks and redheads that overwinter in the project area.
For more information, see: Coastal Habitat Assessment, Section IV (PDF)
The Lake St. Clair Coastal Habitat Project is a two-year cooperative effort (2002-2004) among the Great Lakes Commission, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory with support from NOAA's Coastal Services Center under its Landscape Characterization and Restoration program.