I. Habitat Description
A bog is a distinctive type of freshwater wetland that accumulates peat derived from sphagnum moss. Wet conditions and low oxygen levels contribute to slow decay of organic material, resulting in layers of peat that can be meters deep. Due to a lack of inflows and outflows, and the impermeability of the peat layer, most bogs receive nearly all of their water from surface rather than ground water. Punctuated by the occasional spruce (Picea) and tamarack (Larix), they are nutrient poor as a result of these acid forming peat deposits. Despite these limiting factors, bogs are composed of unique plant communities. These may include carnivorous plants such as the sundew (Drosera) and pitcher plant (Sarracenia), ericaceous shrubs, and sedges (Carex), making those important sites of biodiversity.
II. Sensitivity to Oil Spills
Bogs take millennia to form, and consequently are highly sensitive to damage resulting from oil spills. Poor drainage allows oil to accumulate and persist in layers of organic material. In drier hydrologic regimes, peat deposits are highly absorbent of hydrocarbons, making it difficult for clean-up without removing this valuable material which provides vital substrate for rare plant and animal communities. Light refined oils with high amounts of water-soluble fractions can cause acute mortality to animals and plants. Heavier oils tend to coat vegetation, which may survive if oil coats only the stems or if the roots are unaffected. It is difficult for thicker oils to penetrate densely vegetated areas.
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.