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Key Species in Marsh Management: Mink


The collective appetite of the entire muskrat population determines how much of the marsh remains open water and how much becomes overgrown with cattails, bulrushes and water lilies. Muskrats eat these and other aquatic plants.

When the muskrat population is low, aquatic plants flourish and take over the marsh. Open water disappears. When muskrat populations rebound and climb, they reduce the abundance of aquatic plants and create more open water. When there isn’t enough food, the population declines.

In order to manipulate muskrat populations so a marsh could be stabilized to consist of about half open water and half vegetation. Such a tool exists -it's called predation. And mink are a key predator that regulates muskrat populations.

 
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