May 15, 2020
By: Samantha Sobel, Interpretive Programs Manager at Lums Pond State Park
Located within Lums Pond State Park is a unique wetland known as a Delmarva Bay. It can be observed from the Whale Wallow loop trail located behind the Nature Center. Delmarva Bays are a type of wetland that can be found, as the name suggests, in the Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia areas. A Delmarva Bay is a shallow depression in the ground that is seasonally filled with water and at times can completely dry up. The fact that the bay dries up means that no fish can live within it, but this does not mean it is lacking in life. There is a great amount of biodiversity found within the Delmarva Bay ecosystem. The trail name Whale Wallow comes from the old idea that the depressions were made from beached whales. As of now, their origins can still be a mystery, but recent research suggests that they were created by wind blowouts during the Pleistocene Era.
The Delmarva Bay in Lums Pond starts to fill up in late winter just in time for spring, making it the perfect place for amphibians because they rely on water to complete their life cycle. With the lack of larger predators found in the shallow wetland, as opposed to the larger pond, it creates a safer place for their eggs and young. In early spring you can hear the chuckling call of the Wood Frog, followed by the high pitched peep of the Spring Peeper as they search for a mate. The Spotted Salamander will also make its way out from under the logs to lay their eggs. Although the Delmarva Bay provides an ideal environment for amphibians, it also hosts a variety of other wildlife. When the bay is filled with all of the spring rain this is a good time to find Mallards and Wood Ducks feeding on the plants and insects in the water. In the surrounding forests of the Delmarva Bay, one can find a Spotted Turtle basking on a log or an Eastern Garter snake looking for a distracted toad to snack on.
Delmarva Bays, like other wetlands, are critical for water quality because they filter any contaminants before they enter the groundwater. Given its benefits to water quality and wildlife habitat, this is a special wetland that deserves to be protected. The Delmarva Bay behind the Nature Center at Lums Pond lies within the Nature Preserve, a designation of protection against development for years to come.