Floodplain Forest

This tool lists various Habitat Fact Sheets developed by the Region 5 Regional Response Team. To suggest additions to this tool, please contact Ann Whelan. Click here for Inland Response Tactics Manual.

I. Habitat Description

Floodplain Forest (FF) represents areas on islands, near the shoreline, or around lakes, ponds, and backwaters that are >10% vegetated with seasonally flooded forests. These forests are predominantly silver maple (Acer), but also include elm (Ulmus), cottonwood (Populus), black willow (Salix), and river birch (Betula). Sedges (Carex), grasses (Cinna, Elymus, Leersia), and Lianas such as Virginia creeper, wild grape, and poison ivy are common understory plants. This general class is typically found growing at or near the water table where it becomes inundated from spring flooding and high-water events.

II. Sensitivity to Oil Spills

Floodplain forest habitats are highly sensitive to oil spills. During spring and high water events oil could be deposited in areas that are typically dry for much of the year. This habitat is valuable to several songbird and colonial nesting water bird species, beaver, deer, and a variety of micro and macro invertebrates that constitute the base of the food supply. Significant loss of this habitat would greatly affect the populations of these animals and consequently, the local ecology.

III. Sensitivity to Response Methods

The following text describes potential adverse impacts to this habitat resulting from various oil spill response methods and provides recommendations to reduce impact when these methods are implemented.  This is not intended to preclude the use of any particular methods, but rather to aid responders in balancing the need to remove oil with the possible adverse effects of removal.  More detail about the response methods themselves can be found in the Inland Response Tactics Manual.

Additional Information