Coastal Plain Ponds

Coastal Plain Ponds

Ashumet Pond, Mashpee - 1 The largest concentration of coastal plain ponds in New England occurs on Cape Cod. They are shallow bodies of freshwater and are frequently found near Pine-Oak Woodlands. Fed by groundwater without inlets or outlets they experience variable water elevation. When the water level is low the coastal plain pond shore is present. This area is a habitat to a complex array of rare plants. When the water level increases the plant growth is then inhibited.


Ashumet Pond, Mashpee - 2This delicate ecosystem is very sensitive to human influence. Just walking on the shore can damage the plants. Septic tanks that become overloaded introduce other plants that are characteristic of high nutrient conditions that phase out the endemic plants. Increased bird population due to human influence also contributes to the nutrient increase with their excrement. Coastal Plain Ponds are also threatened by water drawdowns and intensive recreational use.

A protected Coastal Plain Pond would be:
Ashumet Pond Sanctuary: 35 acres located in Mashpee. Protected in 2000.

Plants that are protected in this habitat:

photos copyright ©Farley Lewis

  • Slender arrowhead
  • Narrow leaf goldenrod
  • Golden hedge sundews
  • State protected Plymouth Gentian
  • Creeping St. John’s-wort