school is near a wetland that is surrounded by land slated for
development. What could you do to protect this wetland?
Begin by bringing
in wetlands experts to delineate and define the wetland. Identify
adjacent landowners and other interested people; invite them to
tour the site and then meet to discuss a plan.
goals, which will probably include:
protection for the wetland.
any further damage from occurring.
what damage you can.
the public about the presence of the wetland and how they can
You can work
with private landowners, local governments, and area conservation
groups to evaluate and choose from a number of protection options,
easement: This legal agreement, usually between a private landowner
and an agency or nonprofit organization, restricts the amount
and type of development and protects natural features such as
Rent the wetland to a government agency or nonprofit organization
for a specific period of time. (Lease arrangements are most
commonly used to restore or enhance wetlands; see box on page
The landowner gives the property to a nonprofit organization
and receives a generous tax deduction and the assurance that
the land will be maintained as a wetland.
- Sale: Sell
the land to a nonprofit organization that will either maintain
the land or turn it over to an appropriate government agency.
wetlands preservation includes providing for future use and care.
For example, a protected wetland near your school will doubtless
draw public interest and also provide an outdoor laboratory for
all students at your school.
Plan for these
inevitable uses by consulting with wetlands experts who can help
you establish low-impact trails and boating access, parking, and
any other facilities that might be needed.
public relations or education campaign in your strategy: Let the
public know about your work and the presence of this habitat,
and at the same time inform them through video, ads, and articles
how to use this resource safely and with minimum impact.
On Flat Ranch, on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River in Idaho,
you are as likely to see sandhill cranes as you are cows, plus
birders and anglers or cowboys. This 1600 acre ranch keeps cows
moving in a grazing rotation that protects the land. The riparian
areas are being revegetated with willows and other wetlands plants.
And each year more visitors come to enjoy the recreation provided
on this ranch, which is owned by the Nature Conservancy.
Nonprofit groups and government agencies formed a partnership
to protect one of Idaho's last high-desert, spring-fed wetlands.
Chilly Slough, in the Big Lost River Valley, provides habitat
for rare plants and more than 134 bird species. Its 1,000-acres
are maintained by The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky
Mountain Elk Foundation, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Fifth graders from Wendell Elementary, in Wendell, Idaho,
have planted marsh grasses to restore an eroded wetland and help
a larger wetland mitigation project that will use wetlands to
clean irrigation water.
More About What a Wetland is...