Benefits of Wetlands:
Flood Control - Wetlands can act as protective natural sponges by capturing, storing, and slowly releasing water over a long period of time, thereby reducing the impact of floods. Wetlands can also act as buffers by reducing destructive wave energy.
1 acre of wetlands can store about 1.5 million gallons of water!
Filtering - Wetlands can improve water quality through trapping sediment, neutralizing chemicals, and absorbing excess nutrients. For these reasons wetlands are often used in wastewater treatment processes.
In the Florida, the Cypress Swamps (swamps, vegetated mostly by trees, are one of many wetland types)can remove 98% of the nitrogen and 97% of the phosphorus pollution preventing contamination in the groundwater.
Food - Wetlands have very high rates of primary productivity. Though productivity varies from one type of wetland to the next, as a whole, they out-produce almost all other ecosystems. Covering only 6% of the Earth’s surface they account for 24% of all global productivity. Humans and animals alike benefit from this productivity in the form of foods such as rice and cranberries.
Fur and Fisheries - Along with the high plant productivity in wetlands, they are also important habitat to many animal species including mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds. The commercial fishing industry depends highly on wetlands as nurseries for most of their desired species.
Fascination - Wetlands can be found all over the world (there are wetlands in every state in the US!) and each spot has the great potential to teach observers about natural history and cultural heritage.
Fun - All over the world people spend time in wetlands. Hiking, fishing, canoeing, and bird-watching are some common wetland pastimes, but wetlands are also enjoyed by painters, photographers and others that enjoy wetlands for their beauty.
Since the 1700's the United States has lost over 50% of its wetlands
- In Maryland, there has been a 73% loss of wetlands
- Ohio had lost 90% of its wetlands
- Delaware has experienced a 54% loss
- Pennsylvania a 56% loss
- Virginia a 42% loss in wetlands
What Can You Do?
We can all make a difference by making a connection.
By restoring, creating and protecting wetlands, we can improve the health of our local, national and international waterways.
Here are some specific ways you can help:
Learn more about the functions and values of wetlands
by taking our on-line course, and then pass on your new knowledge to someone else.
School Yard Habitat - Discover the benefits of wetlands first-hand when you build a wetland at your school.
Celebrate Wetlands: February 2nd is World Wetlands Day &
the entire month of May is American Wetlands Month. Learn more
Support EC's mission as we promote public understanding and stewardship of wetlands.
NOW! News On Wetlands
A quarterly newsletter for educators
2004 - 2012