Delmarva bays are seasonally flooded freshwater wetlands that are among Maryland's rarest natural communities.
Dorchester Pond Delmarva bays are seasonally flooded freshwater wetlands that are among Maryland's rarest natural communities. © USEPA by Eric Vance

Places We Protect

Dorchester Pond

Maryland / DC

These geologically mysterious seasonal ponds are one of the state's rarest natural communities.

Overview

Dorchester Pond is the largest coastal plain pond in Maryland, and possibly on the Delmarva Peninsula. The preserve protects the pond and the surrounding forest, which is made up of loblolly pines. Farm fields also surround the pond. 

Delmarva Bays host numerous rare plants and provide important habitat for amphibians. As the name implies, these bays occur only on the Delmarva Peninsula, typically along the backbone of the peninsula where soils are poorly drained.

The seasonal flooding and saturated soils discourage many tree species, thus creating a meadow-like opening dominated by grasses and sedges. Although the surrounding forest is essential to the health of the bays, it is these openings in the forest that harbor the nationally- and state-rare plant and animal species. 

52 acres have been protected at this preserve since 1986. Management focuses on reducing the encroachment of woody species on the pond edges by manual clearing, prescribed burns to enhance habitat for rare plants, and supervising a permitted hunting program to control the deer population. 

This preserve is not open to the public due to the fragility of the pond. Even a few visitors can cause severe damage to the plants and animals that live there. Thank you for your understanding and help in protecting this ecological rarity.