Often regarded as the unsung heroes of our natural world, wetlands are essential ecosystems that offer countless benefits to both humans and wildlife. Find out some of these key advantages and discover why wetlands are good for your community.
Wetlands Improve Water Quality
One of the most critical roles that wetlands play is improving water quality. Wetlands serve as nature’s water quality system, filtering pollutants, nutrients, and sediment from the water. This process protects the quality and health of our water supplies and ensures that other downstream ecosystems, like rivers, lakes, and bays, remain clean and safe for both humans and aquatic life. By preserving and maintaining wetlands, we can directly contribute to the betterment of water quality in our communities.
A Natural Shield Against Erosion
Erosion is a significant threat to all communities near coastlines, rivers, or flood-prone areas. Wetlands are vital to mitigating this problem, as their vegetation and root systems stabilize shorelines and soil and slow the flow of currents that would otherwise wash lake shores and riverbanks away.
Some human-made structures are also helpful. For example, culverts have several vital components that direct runoff toward wetlands. Then, the wetlands hold soil in place, limit sedimentation that can cloud or clog rivers and streams, and reduce the risks of floods and landslides that can cause significant damage to property and infrastructure. A healthy wetland is a community’s natural ally in the battle against the destructive force of erosion.
Wetlands Act as a Community’s Flood Protection Sponge
Wetlands are natural buffers for flood protection. They can delay the rise of storm surges on our coasts, and they have the unique capacity to absorb and store excess water during storms or periods of heavy precipitation. They can sequester floodwaters and slowly release them back into surrounding water bodies or the ground, significantly reducing the risk of extensive water damage. Conserving wetlands is a proactive way to safeguard communities from the devastating impacts of floods.
A Diverse Habitat for Wildlife
Wetlands offer a home for a vast array of plant and animal species—including rare, threatened, or endangered ones. These rich ecosystems serve as nurseries, nesting sites, and resting places for wildlife during annual migrations. A thriving wetland teeming with biodiversity enhances the natural beauty of our communities and contributes to a balanced and well-functioning ecosystem.
Wetlands benefit your community by bolstering water quality, protecting us from erosion, mitigating flood damage, and providing vital habitats for migratory birds, native plants, and resident wildlife.