WETLANDS - Need To Preserve Their
Wetlands have long been known to be a critical component of our environment. Wetlands occupy a pivotal position in water, energy, and nutrient cycles and provide vital habitat for many
important plant and animal species.
Wetlands function as a buffer between the terrestrial and aquatic environments. By retaining water, wet prairie, seasonal wetlands and other wetlands help recharge ground water and moderate the effects of flooding. Through cycling, filtering, and biological activity, wetlands cleanse water for use by people and by fish and wildlife.
Nutrients, sun and water combine abundantly in wetlands to serve the process of photosynthesis. The plants that thrive in these environments convert solar energy to biomass as efficiently as any known to exist. In the process, they rejuvenate the atmosphere by removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.
Wetland ecosystems support high biotic diversity. They contain a wide array of plants that provide excellent cover, food sources, and nesting sites for wildlife. Many species are fully dependent on these ecosystems and many more require them for at least some part of their life cycle. Vegetated shallow waters are also important fish habitat.
The importance of wetlands to biotic diversity is further evidenced by the fact that an estimated one-half of the animals and one-third of the plants currently listed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as endangered or threatened depend on wetlands for survival.
Potential development threatens existing wetlands.