Native Plant Communities
Community Variants: Slough Marsh, Everglades Slough
Sloughs are shallow, non-forested wetlands with slow moving water. Fire is an important factor in maintaining these systems. It is likely that many, if not most, are anthropomorphic being in open settings where the systems would likely have historically been forested.
Sloughs meeting this generic description can be found at Kissimmee Prairie State Park and in other areas where the uplands were historically Dry Prairie.
Slough Marsh or Everglades Slough. These are the primary sloughs found in South Florida. They are found in areas of marl lying over limestone. When the Everglades was described as the "river of grass", it is these sloughs that were being referenced. The water moves gradually through them at a rate that varies from less than 1 to over 4 cm per second (this is very slow) at the Shark Valley Slough depending on weather (Riscassi and Schaffranek 2002).
Typical vegetation includes sawgrass, spikerush, and grasses. Cattails have invaded disturbed areas. Dwarfed pond cypress is sometimes present. See FNAI (2010) for more a detailed vegetation description.
Sloughs in the Everglades region can be seen in the Everglades National Park at Shark Valley and at the Anhinga Trail.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 1992. Soil and Water Relationships of Florida's Ecological Communities http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wetlands/delineation/docs/soil-and-water.pdf
Duever, M. J., J E Carlson, J. F. Meeder, L. C. Duever, L. H. Guderson, L. A. Riopelle, T. R. Alexander, R. L. Myers, and D. P. Spangler. 1986. The Big Cypress National Preserve. Research Report 8, National Audubon Society.
Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI). 2010. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL. http://fnai.org/naturalcommguide.cfm
Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel (eds.). 1990. Ecosystems of Florida University of Central Florida Press: Orlando.
National Research Council 2003. Does Water Flow Influence Everglades Landscape Patterns?. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Riscassi, A.L., and R.W. Schaffranek. 2002. Flow velocity, water temperature and conductivity in Shark River Slough, Everglades National Park, Florida: July 1999 - August 2002. U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY Open-File Report 02-159.
USDA Soil Conservation Service. 1986. 26 Ecological Communities of Florida. http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00000110/00001
Whitney, E.N., D. B. Means, A. Rudloe. 2004. Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species. Pineapple Press.
Date Updated 2020-05-17 11:49:56
Slough in Kissimmee Prairie State Park. Since this photo was taken, park staff have removed the palms. Photo by Shirley Denton.