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Wet Meadows

Photos of grazed and ungrazed wet meadows Wet meadows are "wet" fields that are generally firm underfoot and at times may not appear to be wetlands at all. Wet meadows represent a small percentage of Rhode Island's freshwater wetlands. They may be seasonally flooded or saturated to the ground surface.

The most common plants found in wet meadows include sedges, grasses, rushes, & flowering herbs. In agricultural areas of Rhode Island, many wet meadows occupy areas that were once swamps. During colonial times, the forests were cleared for pastures. Since these areas were too wet to grow crops, the farmers used them as grazing areas for livestock. Because of the continual grazing, these areas have not reverted back to swamp, but remain as wet "fields" or meadows.

Wet meadows are generally short-lived, unless some sort of disturbance maintains them, i.e. grazing, fire, mowing or cutting woody vegetation.