Wetlands -What are they and why are they important...
A wetland is transitional land between the water and dry ground. Most people think of wetlands as marsh-like areas filled with cattails. However, there are many types of wetlands such as swamps, marshes, bogs and seasonal wetlands like meadows, sedge meadows and wet prairies. Officially a wetland contains the following: water at or near the surface during at least part of the year; special soils know as hydric-or moisture containing-soils; and specific wetland plants and vegetation.
Many wetlands are protected by Local, State and Federal laws because they are one of our most valuable resources and their importance to the security of our lakes and streams cannot be overstated. Wetlands control flooding and stormwater through soil stabilization and erosion reduction as surface water runoff is absorbed then slowly released into ground water or lakes and streams. This protects water quality by filtering and breaking down sediments, nutrients and toxins and slowly releasing the water to recharge groundwater. These areas also provide habitat for many different species of wildlife and provide recreational opportunities for bird watching, canoeing and hiking. Perhaps the most significant contribution wetlands make is the treatment of pollution by serving as a biological and chemical oxidation basin.
We all play a role in protecting vital wetland resources and restoration, preservation and education are the keys to securing the viability of these natural wonders.
REMEMBER, WE ALL BENEFIT FROM A HEALTHY WATERSHED!