What are Wetlands?
A wetland is an area of land saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and is identified by assessing three factors: hydrology, plants and soil. The type of soil that develops and the vegetation that grows are determined by the amount of saturation. There are four types of wetlands marshes, swamps, bogs and fens. Wetlands are often called the kidneys of the earth because they help purify water by filtering out pollutants and sediment. Acting like sponges, they help reduce flooding and slow runoff from surfaces like roofs and driveways.
What about mosquitoes?
Healthy wetlands are not uncontrolled breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Healthy wetlands sustain mosquito-eating creatures like fish, amphibians, insects, birds and bats.
How do Wetlands work?
- Groundwater, stream water or storm water flows into the wetland.
- The saturated peat beneath the standing water contains bacteria
- that break down contaminants.
- Sediments and contaminants are filtered from the water.
- A critical wildlife habitat is created.
- Cleaner water flows out.
What are the benefits of healthy Wetlands?
- They play a role in recharging groundwater.
- Wetlands help reduce pollution that flows downstream to neighboring rivers and lakes.
- They store water and buffer communities from the worst impacts of
- severe floods.
- They play a role in fishing, agriculture and recreation.
It is estimated that half of the original wetland area in the lower 48 states has already been lost.
Why? Development, drainage for farming and other activities caused by humans have changed the landscape and the natural sources of water required to maintain a healthy and vibrant wetland.