is a Wetland?
are all the Wetlands?
for the Future
dredging, building dikes, dumping pollutants, mining for sand
and gravel, ditching, roading…These are just a few of the many
direct ways that we damage or destroy wetlands. Add the indirect
methods the wakes of our motorboats, the salt on winter
roads, global climate change and it's a wonder we have
any wetlands left.
of years, agriculture has been the chief destroyer of wetlands
among our myriad activities. If a field was too wet in the spring,
farmers would dig a ditch to drain off the water. When the country
and the world demanded more grain, the federal government paid
people to fill wetlands. And now, when family farmers struggle
to make their mortgage each month, it's hard to ask them not to
plow every square inch of ground.
gobbles up more large chunks of wetlands. Vast acres of marshes
in the San Francisco Bay, Chesapeake Bay, New York Harbor and
other coastal areas were dredged or filled in the twentieth century
to make way for freeways, airports, industrial sites, business
buildings, and thousands of homes. Those are the obvious losses.
barely notice the millions of small wetlands lost to bulldozers.
These small wetlands, which often last only a few months each
year, are vital purifiers of surface water, rechargers of groundwater,
and providers of habitat for wildlife. Unfortunately, few laws
protect them. Learn about the threats to Idaho Wetlands
at risk from unrestricted development include peatlands of the
northeastern United States and bottomland hardwood forests of
the southeast. In the western United States, riverine wetlands
(riparian areas) face continued destruction from several sources.
to some researchers, hundreds of thousands of acres of riverine
wetlands have been damaged by livestock grazing. Livestock not
only consume the vegetation, but they also tend to remain in the
same area for an extended period of time. Their movements to and
from riversides can create gullies and otherwise undermine the
efforts, whether building roads and bridges or homes and businesses,
also can impact streamside habitats by compacting the soil, ripping
up vegetation, and accidentally carrying in seeds of non-native
or noxious plants such as knapweed.