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.
Wetland areas function as natural sponges. They soak up excess water, like rain and snow-melt.
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.
The Prairie Pothole Region is an amazing, wetland-rich area. The habitat mix is unlike anywhere else in the world.
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.
Wetlands also draw in hunters, fishers, birdwatchers and
photographers, all of which help to boost rural economies.
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 our heritage and culture to take care of our natural resources for future generations.
Ok, so, this is important!
What can I do to help?
You can help just by sharing this story with others and by staying in touch and keeping updated.
Here are some great ways to do that:
- Like our Ducks Unlimited Great Plains Facebook Page.
- Share this story with others via social media, email, or just talking about it with others.