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Quakertown Swamp

Quakertown Swamp




  • Listed on more than one “valuable wetland” list by natural resource agencies or nongovernment organizations.
  • Protects biological diverse wetland flora, fauna and/or their habitat
  • Supports significant numbers of wetland-dependent fauna, such as water birds or fish

Quakertown Swamp is a large natural wetland, unique to upper Bucks County identified as one of the most significant natural resources in the County. According to the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI), it is one of the largest intact, inland wetlands in southeastern Pennsylvania and is exceptional for its broadleaf deciduous shrubs and excellent bird habitat. The entire Quakertown Swamp wetland community is imperiled in the state because of rarity. The Pennsylvania Game Commission recognizes this extensive swamp as significant habitat for nesting and migrating waterfowl. Quakertown Swamp is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an important wetland area in Pennsylvania. The Bucks County Planning Commission named Quakertown Swamp as a significant natural area in its natural resources plans (1986 and 1999) and in its Natural Areas Inventory (1999).

A nationwide cooperative conservation program led by the National Audubon Society designated the swamp as a Pennsylvania Important Bird Area. The swamp is the only known nesting area of the Sora Rail and Marsh Wren in the region, two Species of Special Concern in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Census in 1985 identified 74 species nesting in this natural area. The largest Great Blue Heron rookery in eastern Pennsylvania is found here and the Least Bittern and American Bittern, both threatened in Pennsylvania, are seen in the swamp during migration.

(Heritage Conservancy, 2000)

Exemplary Ecosystem Services:

  • Recreation (birdwatching, ecotourism)
  • Aquifer recharge
  • Storm abatement
  • Flood storage/mitigation
  • Water quality improvement


Public Access: Yes

Current and Future Threats: Fragmentation, invasive species, nutrient loading, watershed development, and stormwater runoff

Conservation status: State/Province/Regional Protection

Adjacent Land Use: Agricultural (cropland, orchards, greenhouse)

Approximate natural buffer width:

  • 50-100 ft

Other information:

Residential land use is also significant in the areas surrounding and within the Swamp.

Several land parcels have been preserved under Conservation Easements.


Approximate size: 210 hectares (518 acres)

General wetland characterization:

  • Inland Deep Fresh Marsh
  • Inland Fresh Shrub Swamp
  • Inland Fresh Wooded Swamp

Adjacent Water Bod(ies):

  • Stream

Name of body of water: Bog Run

Surficial Geology:

Quakertown Swamp is located on an ancient formation created by igneous diabase intrusions into older sedimentary shales (Heritage Conservancy, 2000).

If Adjacent to Stream, stream order: First order


Soils derived from diabase are of the Towhee – Neshaminy – Mount Lucas association (USDA, 1975). The soils of the swamp are primarily Hatboro silt loam, a floodplain soil formed from alluvium washed from the surrounding uplands (Heritage Conservancy, 2000).


Dominant flora: Red maple, pin oak, swamp white oak, black willow, buttonbush, broadleaf cattail, tussock sedge

Unique flora: Six (6) state ranked species, five (5) with global ranking

Dominant fauna: The Quakertown Swamp is especially known for its extensive bird habitat, noting 74 species of nesting birds. In addition to birds, many amphibians and reptiles are dependent on the swamp habitat, including habitat for five species of turtle, seven species of frog, three species of salamander, and five species of snake.

Rare fauna: Bird species include 14 rare breeders, eight Species of Special Concern, and four of uncertain nesting status.


Quakertown Swamp Resource Protection Plan


Applicant First Name: James

Applicant Last Name: Drennan

Website: view our site

Applicant E-mail Address:


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