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The Orono Bog

Welcome to the Orono Bog!


The Orono Bog is located in Orono, Maine very close to interstate 95. It is connected to a larger system of trails that wind through the Bangor City Forest and lead into the town of Orono. It is located in a basin that was created while Maine was still partly covered by glaciers. The part of the land that contains the bog eventually rose out of the sea following the retreat of the glaciers. Due to a wet climate developing in the region, wetland vegetation began to inhabit the basin, eventually resulting in the several different peatland environments that exist in the area today (Orono Bog Boardwalk, 2012).
    
The Orono Bog has a unique landscape because of the several different wetland types that it consists of, ranging from a lawn of moss in the center to an outer ring of mixed forested fen. The beautiful vegetation and wildlife that inhabit the bog have made it an attraction for tourists and locals for a long time, and in 1975 it was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Park Service.

Wetland Characteristics

Soils
There are seven different soil classes that make up the Orono Bog, all but one of which are hydric soils. They hyrric soils of this wetland can be broken into two more specific categories. The first group is the soils that have varying degrees of silt loam texture and all have slopes no greater than 15 percent. These are the soils that surround the bog, and they typically support abundances of evergreen trees and other coniferous forest vegetation. The remaining soil classes that make up the bog are all peat soils, meaning they are comprised mainly of dark organic material that is slowly decomposing due to low oxygen conditions. Sphagnum moss is the characteristic dominant vegetation of this soil class (Web Soil Survey, 2012).

Hydrology
All of the soils in this wetland area have very similar water features. They all have water table depths of 0 cm., which means that the water table is typically right around the surface of the soil. Because of this, even when there is standing water on these soils they are not considered flooded. This is why all of these soils are also given a flooding frequency characteristic of "none". The majority of the soils in this wetland also share the characteristic of frequent ponding, which means that they form depressions that hold water more than twice a year (USGS, 2012).

All of the soils in this wetland area are in Group D for hydrologic rating. Group D soils have high runoff potential because of slow infiltration of water, creating a high potential for surface runoff. However, the lack of steep slopes in this wetland area make runoff potential negligible (Web Soil Survey, 2012). These soils are placed in Group D because of the slow infiltration rate, high water table, and shallow soil over nearly impervious material (Web Soil Survey, 2012).
    

                        
               An example of standing water in the forested section of the bog.                                   
    

    Vegetation

    The following table shows the types of vegetation that are expected to be found in the different wetland types that make up the Orono Bog:                                                                                                

Wetland Type

Common Name

Scientific Name

Growth Form

Wetland Indicator Class

Abundance

Open Cedar Fen, Maritime Huckleberry Bog

Black spruce

Picea mariana

Canopy

FACW-, FACW

common

Open Cedar Fen

Larch

Larix decidua

Canopy

 

?

Open Cedar Fen

Northern White Cedar

Tabebuia heterophylla

Canopy

FAC

common

Open Cedar Fen

Balsam fir

Abies balsamea

Sapling/Shrub

FAC, FACW

Common

Open Cedar Fen

Black ash

Fraxinus nigra

Sapling/Shrub

FACW, FACW+

?

Open Cedar Fen

Red maple

Acer rubrum

Sapling/Shrub

FAC

Common

Open Cedar Fen

Speckled Alder

Alnus incana

Sapling/Shrub

 

Common

Open Cedar Fen

Black huckleberry

Gaylussacia baccata

Dwarf Shrub

FACU

?

Open Cedar Fen, Maritime Huckleberry Bog

Labrador tea

Ledum groenlandicum

Dwarf Shrub

 

?

Open Cedar Fen, Maritime Huckleberry Bog, Mossy Bog Mat

Leatherleaf

Chamaedaphne calyculata

Dwarf Shrub

FACW, OBL

?

Open Cedar Fen, Maritime Huckleberry Bog

Sheep laurel

Kalmia angustifolia

Dwarf Shrub

FAC

?

Open Cedar Fen

Sweet gale

Gale palustris

Dwarf Shrub

 

?

Open Cedar Fen

Swamp Birch

Betula pumila

 

Dwarf Shrub

OBL

Commons

Open Cedar Fen

Bluejoint

Calamagrostis canadensis

Herb

FAC, OBL

?

Open Cedar Fen

Cinnamon fern

Osmunda cinnamomea

Herb

FACW

?

Open Cedar Fen

Creeping snowberry

Gaultheria hispidula

Herb

FACW

?

Open Cedar Fen

Dwarf raspberry

Rubus arcticus

Herb

 

?

Open Cedar Fen

Three-leaved false Solomon’s seal

Maianthemum trifolium

Herb

 

?

Open Cedar Fen

Bog Bedstraw

Galium labradoricum

 

Herb

OBL

?

Open Cedar Fen

Tussock sedge

Carex paniculata

Herb

 

?

Open Cedar Fen

Dioecious Sedge

 

Carex sterilis

 

Herb

OBL

?

Open Cedar Fen

Horned Beak-rush

 

Rhynchospora capillacea

 

Herb

OBL

?

Open Cedar Fen

Livid Sedge

 

Carex livida

 

Herb

OBL

?

Open Cedar Fen

Marsh Valerian

 

Valeriana uliginosa

 

Herb

FACW-, FACW

?

Open Cedar Fen

Showy Lady's-slipper

 

Cypripedium reginae

 

Herb

FACW-, FACW+

?

Open Cedar Fen

Sparse-flowered Sedge

 

Carex tenuiflora

 

Herb

OBL

?

Open Cedar Fen

Dicranum moss

Dicranum scoparium

Bryoid

 

?

Open Cedar Fen

Mountain fern moss

Hylocomium splendens

Bryoid

 

?

Open Cedar Fen, Mossy Bog Mat

Sphagnum mosses

Sphagnum platyphyllum

Bryoid

 

Common

Maritime Huckleberry Bog, Mossy Bog Mat

Black crowberry

Empetrum nigrum

Dwarf Shrub

FACU, FACW

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog, Mossy Bog Mat

Dwarf huckleberry

Gaylussacia dumosa

Dwarf Shrub

FAC

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog, Mossy Bog Mat

Pale laurel

Kalmia polifolia

Dwarf Shrub

 

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog, Mossy Bog Mat

Small cranberry

Vaccinium oxycoccos

Dwarf Shrub

OBL

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog

Bog goldenrod

Solidago uliginosa

Herb

OBL

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog

Deer-hair sedge

Trichophorum cespitosum

Herb

 

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog, Mossy Bog Mat

Pitcher plant

Sarracenia alata

Herb

 

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog, Mossy Bog Mat

Round-leaved sundew

Drosera rotundifolia

Herb

 

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog, Mossy Bog Mat

Northern Comandra

 

Geocaulon lividum

 

Herb

FACU, FACW-

?

Maritime Huckleberry Bog

Reindeer lichen

Cladonia rangiferina

Bryoid

 

?

Mossy Bog Mat

 

Horned baldderwort

Utricularia cornuta

Herb

 

?

Mossy Bog Mat

Tawny cotton-grass

Eriophorum virginicum

Herb

 

?

Mossy Bog Mat

White beak-rush

Rhynchospora alba

Herb

 

?

Mossy Bog Mat

Mylia liverwort

Mylia taylorii

Bryoid

 

?



                                                         Sphagnum mosses
 
                                                   Deciduous tree dominated fen

                                               Skunk cabbage


                                                
Wildlife/Other Facts

An abundance of plant species is able to be supported in different parts of the bog because of the variation in wetland types that stretch across the 600 acres. This diversity of plants provides habitat for a diversity of other organisms as well; in particular, an extensive list of bird species has been observed (Orono Bog Boardwalk, 2012).

The unique vegetation and wildlife that the Orono Bog supports makes it an attraction to both tourists and the population of the greater Bangor area. Because of its unique characteristics and being located so close to developed areas, the Orono Bog was designated as a Natural National Landmark by the National Park Service in 1973 (National Park Service, 2011). Since then, the bog has undergone shared management by the Orono Land Trust, the City of Bangor, and the University of Maine. These organizations, with the help of a few other organizations and volunteers, collaborated in 2002 to design and construct the boardwalk that today allows visitors to traverse the different sections of the bog with minimal disturbance to the environment (Orono Bog Boardwalk, 2012).


Visiting This Wetland

There is very easy access to this wetland because of its location. It is open to the public, but the boardwalk is only open from May 1st to late November (for safety reasons). No extra gear (boots, canoes, etc.) is needed to explore the bog.  The boardwalk is very family friendly; it is maintained well, and even provides kiosks every once in a while with benches and information about the vegetation and wildlife of that particular spot in the bog.  To access the Orono Bog, use these maps:



o

(Maps from Orono Bog Boardwalk.org)


References

Graham, B. (1948). A preliminary study of pollen deposits in the Orono Bog, Penobscot County, Maine: With an appended report of a recent woody deposit near the Merriland River, Wells, York County, Maine. Orono, ME: University of Maine.

Johnson, C. (1985). Bogs of the northeast. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection (2011). Wetland types: Peatlands. Available at http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/wetlands/types.html. Accessed April 4, 2012.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection (2011). Wetland types: Peatlands. Available at http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/wetlands/types.html. Accessed April 4, 2012.

Orono Bog Boardwalk (2012). Orono Land Trust, City of Bangor, University of Maine. Available at http://www.oronobogwalk.org/index.htm. Accessed April 2, 2012.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (2012). Natural Resource Conservation Service: Plants Database, Wetland Indicator Status. Available at http://plants.usda.gov/wetland.html. Accessed April 6, 2012.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (2012). Natural Resource Conservation Service: Plants Database, Wetland Indicator Status. Available at http://plants.usda.gov/wetland.html. Accessed April 6, 2012.

U.S. Department of the Interior (2008). National Park Service: National Natural Landmarks Program. Available at http://www.nature.nps.gov/nnl/docs/NNLBrochure.pdf>. Accessed April 2, 2012.


Wetland information and photos by Jason Duff, Department of Environmental Science, 
Last updated on 10 May 2012 by CHVB

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