Habitats of North Carolina
Habitat Group:
Habitat Type:
Members of Lotic Habitats:
« »
Lotic Habitats
General Waters and Shorelines
General Description This habitat includes the combination of aquatic habitats and their shorelines. The aquatic habitats range from perennial streams to rivers to ponds and lakes to esturaries. Shorelines can be bare of vegetation or thickly vegetated.

All but one of the Determining Species of this habitat are semi-aquatic, using both aquatic and terrestrial habitats as adults. The one exception, the Northern Rough-Winged Swallow nests in banks and forages over water but does not enter it. All riparian environments are used, at least those bordering perennial streams. Lakes and swamps are used as well as flowing waters. Along the coast, several of these species -- particularly the birds and mammals -- also make use of brackish or even salt waters. Members of this habitat are all found in two or more of the state's physiographic provinces.

Abiotic Factors Geographic Regions: Lower Coastal Plain to High Mountains. USDA Hardiness Zones: 6a-8a. Landform: perennial streams or ponds on ridges, slopes, bottomlands, and wet flats. Slope Aspect: occurs on all slopes aspects as well as on ridges and flats. Soil Moisture: wet to hydric. Soil texture: sandy to loamy to alluvial. Soil pH: circumneutral to acidic. Soil Nutrient Content: rich to poor. Microclimate: Warm to cool; humid to dry. Hydrological Features: the presence of perennial surface waters is a key factor for this habitat. Flood Frequency: regular. Flood Duration: transient to days or weeks. Fire Frequency: rare except when located next to frequently burned habitats. Drought Frequency: rare. Insolation: full sun to full shade

Biotic Structure Vegetation Type: closed-canopy forests to open barrens. flood debris is common but leaf litter is generally swept away.

Co-evolved Species Groups
Determining Species
Stelgidopteryx serripennisNorthern Rough-winged SwallowG5S4S40.00041
Ardea herodiasGreat Blue HeronG5S5S50.00000
Butorides virescensGreen HeronG5S5S50.00000
Megaceryle alcyonBelted KingfisherG5S5S50.00000
Lithobates catesbeianusAmerican BullfrogS50.00000
Lithobates clamitansGreen FrogS50.00000
Lithobates palustrisPickerel FrogS50.00000
Lithobates sphenocephalusSouthern Leopard FrogS50.00000
Lontra canadensisNorthern River OtterG5S4S40.00041
Neovison visonAmerican minkG5S4S40.00041
Castor canadensisAmerican BeaverG5S5S50.00000
Ondatra zibethicusMuskratG5S5S50.00000
Thamnophis sauritaEastern Ribbon SnakeS40.00041
Nerodia sipedonCommon WatersnakeG5S5S50.00000
Chelydra serpentinaEastern Snapping TurtleG5S5S50.00000
Kinosternon subrubrumEastern Mud TurtleG5S5S50.00000
Sternotherus odoratusCommon Musk Turtle (Stinkpot)G5S5S50.00000
Nr = Number of Ranked Species = 17
Ner = Number of Extant, Ranked Species = 17
Nv = Number of Historic and Extirpated Species = 0
Nar = Number of Species at Risk of Extirpation (State rank > S5) = 4
Nss = Number of Secure Species (State Rank = S5) = 13
Pss = Proportion of Secure Species (Nss/Ner) = 0.76471
ENE = Expected Number of Extirpations (Sum of PE) = 0.00164
Average PE (ENE/Ner) = 0.00010
Habitat Risk Index = (Nar+Nv) x Average PE = 4 x 0.0001 = 0.0004

Estimated Risk to the Determining Species None of the Determining Species of this habitat are considered to be of any conservation concern. The Average PE is equivalent to a state rank of S4S5.

Estimated Risk to the Co-evolved Species Groups
Estimated Security of the Habitat Thirteen species are considered secure in North Carolina and the Proportion of Secure Species, at 76%, is very high. The reflects both the abundance of stream and pond habitats in the state and their general high degree of connectedness.

Index of Habitat Imperilment The HRI value is very low, falling within our Tier 5 of Conservation Concern, which indicates a negligible priority for conservation efforts.

Identified Risks Loss of beaver pond habitats a century ago greatly reduced the available habitat for this group. Creation of farm ponds partially compensated for those losses and the more recent construction of large reservoirs has also benefited this particular group, unlike those associated with free-flowing rivers and streams.

Observed Trends Habitat for this group has been increasing with the return of beaver to the landscape, beginning in the middle of the last century.

Distribution Map
Major Conservation Reserves
Priority Areas for Surveys and Conservation Protection
Stewardship and Management Recommendations
Updated on 2023-01-24 21:35:18