How We Can Protect And Save Our Wetlands

Happy World Wetlands Day! February 2nd commemorates the day the Convention on Wetlands was created and each year World Wetlands Day serves as a reminder to raise global awareness of the vital role of wetlands play in our lives.

Illustration by eleyas emon

Wetlands are an area of land that is covered by water most if not all year round. Swamps, marshes and bogs are classified as wetlands. Wetlands are very diverse and may contain plant and animal life that cannot survive any place else. Some plant life that thrives in wetlands is mangrove, water lilies, cypress, tamarack and others. Animals that count on the existence of wetlands to survive are reptiles, birds, insects and amphibians.

The existence of wetlands is dwindling due to real estate development, flooding or being destroyed and replaced by freshwater lakes to be used for recreational purposes. As wetlands are destroyed so are the homes of many animals and plants that need the wetlands to thrive. The destruction of wetlands has caused many groups to fight against the development and destruction of the wetlands.

Florida wetlands at Everglades National Park | Irina Wilhauk

Because of the importance of wetlands to the environment, many states have designed regulations to protect the area and the life that depends on its existence to survive. Some states have started to require that if a wetland is to be destroyed by developers, they must then create a new artificial wetland to replace the natural one that has been destroyed.

Aside from helping animals and plants to survive, wetlands are also used as a way in which to divert and transport flood water away from areas that have recently become flooded. The floodways of a wetland allow floodwater to move easily downstream by storing water and slowly releasing it to ease the rate that the water will travel.

Capybara and Heron in the Wetlands of MT, Brazil

Wetlands are also important in controlling the impact that high tides and storm tides can have to upland areas. The existence of wetlands slows down and lessens the impact of the waves from causing further destruction during a hurricane or tidal wave.

The ability that wetlands have to naturally filter excess nutrients and pollution from the water is also another way in which they can protect and be important to the ecosystem. By filtering pollutants from the water this helps to provide us with another form of available clean water.

Sunrise in August over a wetland area along a highway in central Indiana. | William Saylor

With all the benefits that wetlands have to offer, it is important that they be protected in order to keep our ecosystem in balance. If they continue to be destroyed we will lose beneficial plant life and animals that depend on their existence to live. If you are concerned about the destruction of wetlands in your state there are many ways in which you can help to save them. Simply call your local water department or conservation society to find out what you can do to help.

For more information about water saving tips and water fluoridation please visit Central Basin website now.

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