California Fens

Meadow Complex of a pond, fen, and wet meadow of the Helgramite Fen and Shorebird Fen in the Plumas National Forest. A strongly sloping fen in the Stanislaus National Forest. A strongly sloping fen in the Stanislaus National Forest. Fen in Upper Sagehen Basin, Tahoe National Forest. Inglenook Fen, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Greens Flat Fen, Plumas National Forest. Two men collecting information about a fen, Beckwourth Ranger District, Plumas National Forest. Three women collecting plant and soil information in the Saddle Gulch Fen, Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Discover the Fens of California

Hanging Fen in the Convict Creek Basin, California.What is a Fen?
Fens are a type of wetland. Fens get water and nutrients from a ground source of water.

A strongly sloping fen in the Stanislaus National Forest.Types of Fens
Differentiated by topography, slope, and subsurface flow, ground water feeds fens in California.

Hanging Fen in the Convict Creek Basin, California.Rich Fens, Poor Fens
The “wealth” of a fen is largely determined by its soil acidity.

Fen in Upper Sagehen Basin, Tahoe National Forest.How Old are Fens?
Though some may be over 8,000 years old, the exact ages of fens in California is open for further study.

Inglenook Fen.Diversity of Fens
Fens are important for their biological diversity and habitat.

Greens Flat Fen, Plumas National Forest.Fen Conservation
Groundwater alteration, land use, and exotic plant species threaten fens in California.

Two men collecting information about a fen, Beckwourth Ranger District, Plumas National Forest.Fen Monitoring
Fen monitoring assists the management and restoration of fen wetland ecosystems.

hree women collecting plant and soil information in the Saddle Gulch Fen, Shasta-Trinity National Forest.More Information
References and links to more information about fens in California.

Hotspots of Biodiversity

“Fens are an important and unique wetland type. Fens are peat-forming wetlands that rely on groundwater input and require thousands of years to develop and cannot easily be restored once destroyed. Fens are also hotspots of biodiversity. They often are home to rare plants, insects, and small mammals. Larger animals like deer and livestock graze in this type of wetland. Fens are valuable to humans as well. They are important as sites of groundwater discharge and are good indicators of shallow aquifers. Vegetation in all wetlands plays an important role in recycling nutrients, trapping eroding soil, and filtering out polluting chemicals such as nitrates. In addition, fens figure prominently in nearly all scenarios of CO2-induced global change because they are a major sink for atmospheric carbon.”

Weixelman & Cooper 2009