The Value of North Dakota’s Wetlands

North Dakota wetlands are worth protecting

North Dakota's wetlands are important to all of us, and they're worth protecting.

Clean Water

Wetlands are nature’s water filters. Wetland plants, bacteria and soil help clean water before it reaches your taps

Reduce Flooding

A wetland is like a giant sponge. Wetlands absorb and store excess water, which reduces the severity of flooding.

Wildlife

Thousands of species of plants and animals depend on wetlands. Animals rely on wetlands for food, water and shelter.

Recreation

Wetlands make great places to relax. Hiking, wildlife watching, hunting and canoeing are some of the activities people enjoy in wetland areas.

Minimize Drought

During dry periods, wetlands slowly release water they’ve stored back into the surrounding area.

Clear Lakes

Wetlands capture phosphorus that would otherwise end up causing harmful algae blooms on our lakes.

Disappearing

We lose more than 6,000 acres of wetlands a year in the Prairie Pothole Region (Dahl, T.E. 2014). We have already lost about half of our wetlands.

Makes ND Unique

The geology of North Dakota’s Prairie Pothole Region is globally unique. Our state has one of the world’s most important and threatened ecosystems.

What is a wetland anyway?

Wetlands come in all sizes. Some wetlands dry up in the spring or may not be “wet” for years. Actually, the smaller wetlands have the best food for nesting birds, such as young plants, insects, seeds and tiny shrimp.

These natural multi-taskers don’t stop there. While they’re absorbing excess water, they’re also reducing the amount of harmful substances that enter streams, rivers, groundwater or lakes by acting like a strainer that filters out the bad stuff.

When pollutants enter a wetland, the plant systems get to work. They absorb the pollutant into their roots before they release the filtered water. The bad stuff then gets absorbed in the wetland area soil, where bacteria and other microorganisms break them down.

North Dakota’s Prairie Pothole Region is an amazing, wetland-rich area. The habitat mix is unlike anywhere else in the world, and it’s right here in North Dakota.

These wetlands are more than just ecological powerhouses. Wetlands also offer a lot of environmental benefits to everyone.

Wetlands Benefit Everyone

Yep. Everyone. Wetlands near urban areas are particularly valuable because they absorb runoff from pavement and buildings. Preserving our wetlands decreases the likelihood of expensive flood control dams and levees. Wetlands also mean you’ll be less likely to be pumping water from your basement or sandbagging in your community in the spring. Plus, wetlands keep the ground cleaner which is where we get a lot of our food.

Every time someone stops to fill their gas tank, stays in a hotel, eats at a restaurant, or shops at local C-stores, they’re bringing new dollars into the community and keeping those services healthy and vibrant.

And it’s just part of North Dakota’s heritage and culture to take care of our natural resources for future generations.

Ok, so, this is important!
What can I do to help?

Here are some great ways to do that:

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