Wetlands

January 18 , 2005

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Birdwatching at a Wetland
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Red Drake Photo          Wetlands Glossary

Anaerobic
Without oxygen, as in wetlands soils that are starved of oxygen.

Contaminant
Harmful substance deposited in the air or water or land.

Detritus
Dead and dying plants; can also be bits of animal remains; forms base of nutrient web in wetlands.

Habitat
Food, water, shelter, and space that an animal requires.

Hydrology (as in wetlands)
Amount and period of time that water is present.

Hydric soils
Soils low or absent in oxygen due to their saturation in water.

Hydrophytic vegetation
Plants adapted to wet soil.

Load
Amount of contaminant/pollutant/ sediment being carried by a stream, river, or other waterway.

Pollutant
See "contaminant."

*Runoff
Water that drains or flows off the surface of the land.

Sediment
Silt washed from the land and into the water. Soil, mineral Contains few decomposing plants; usually comprised of materials such as clay, sand, or silt. Soil, organic Contains large amount of decomposing plants.

*Water cycle
The continuous circulation of water in systems throughout the planet, involving condensation, precipitation, runoff, evaporation, and transpiration.

Wetland
As defined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: An area inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.

*Indicates definitions adapted from Project WILD or Project WILD Aquatic Education Activity Guide, 1992.

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