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Mid-Atlantic Floodplains and Low Terraces

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About the Mid-Atlantic Floodplains and Low Terraces

The Mid-Atlantic Floodplains and Low Terraces are a bottomland region interspersed with the Mid-Atlantic and Carolina Flatwoods region, occurring in the floodplains of rivers and major streams that cut through these flatwoods regions. This region consists of many discontinuous pieces, extending through North Carolina and South Carolina.

This region consists of floodplains with large, slow-moving rivers, deep-water swamps, and occasional oxbow lakes. The alluvial deposits that form the soils here originated upstream, and thus different portions of this region can have significant textural differences in one river to the next. Most of this region's rivers originate outside this region, in the Piedmont or even Appalachian regions, but some have watersheds entirely restricted to the coastal plain. Brownwater floodplains tend to result from rivers that originate within or cross the Piedmont, where weatherable rocks bring mineral-laden sediments. Blackwater floodplains, on the other hand, result from watersheds contained in the coastal plain.

This region is mostly covered in forested swamps. Cypress-Gum swamps occur where soils are saturated year-round or nearly so. On slightly drier, but still wet sites, hardwoods dominate, including wetland oak species, green ash, red maple, and hickories.

This region is sparsely populated and sparsely utilized in general, owing to its small size and the greater abundance of higher, drier ground that is both better-suited to agriculture and urban development. Changing water levels and risk of flooding makes this a dangerous region to build in. There is, however, some urban development where towns and cities intersect this region, as well as some agriculture, especially on the driest ground around the margins of this region.

Upstream, this region is bordered by the Southeastern Floodplains and Low Terraces; downstream, this region opens directly into bodies of water. Moving perpendicular to the rivers, this region is bordered by the slightly more upland Mid-Atlantic Flatwoods in the north, and the Carolina Flatwoods in the south.

References

1. Comstock, J.A.; Griffith, G.E.; Omernik, J.M. "Ecoregions of North Carolina: Regional Descriptions", (2002) Web.