world wetlands day february 2nd logoEveryone should be commemorating World Wetland’s Day on Feb. 2nd, they are indispensable to a healthy environment!

The reasons for preserving our wetlands are endless but here are some of the most critical: wetlands provide a vital habitat for thousands of animals, fish, birds and plants. Wetlands control erosion and provide flood protection by buffering shorelines during storms; wetlands improve water quality; and wetlands offer a unique aesthetic and recreational environment.

Wetlands are not just pretty to look at, they provide important benefits as nurseries for fish and shellfish that are commercially harvested and they provide a leafy backdrop for Kermit.

Kermit-the-Frog-Playing-Banjo-During-The-Rainbow-Connection world wetlands day

 

See below to better understand the benefits provided by our wetlands.

  1. Wetlands purify our water

Wetlands are great filters! They trap sediments and remove pollutants, which helps to purify water and improve overall water quality.

  1. Wetlands store our water to ensure supply during dry periods

Wetlands work like giant sponges. They store water and then slowly release it, and this helps to deal with dry seasons with little rainfall.

  1. Wetlands can prevent floods

When rivers burst their banks, wetlands can store the excess water, and slow it down so it distributes more evenly over a floodplain. The roots of trees and other vegetation also help slow the speed of flood waters.

  1. Wetlands recharge ground water

In the past, city planners either filled in wetlands areas or dammed them, adding pipes that would lead the water to the ocean as fast as possible. But now we know that wetlands allow water to soak into the ground, and to replenish the natural ground-water supply.

  1. Wetlands are buffer zones

Wetlands protect our shores from wave action and storm surges from hurricanes. They control coastal erosion produced by wave action  Sediments from the land are also trapped by wetlands, keeping the coastal waters clean and healthy.

  1. Wetlands provide shelter for juvenile fish

Fish larvae and fish fry (juveniles) use the calm, shallow waters of wetlands as a nursery.

  1. Wetlands are carbon sinks

Wetlands cover about 9% of the earth’s surface and are estimated to contain around 35% of global terrestrial carbon. This is because wetlands absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, reducing their impact on the environment and helping to slow down climate change.

  1. Wetlands protect biodiversity

Biodiversity is high around wetlands habitats. The biodiversity of wetlands has produced some incredible specialist species that are only found in these habitats. Many different kinds of creatures depend on wetlands – and on each other. These areas provide food and shelter for many animals, These wetlands are important stopping points for migratory birds and breeding grounds for birds, fish and amphibians.

  1. Wetlands help control pests

Wetlands provide habitat for birds, which can play an important role in helping to control pests on nearby rural and urban areas.

For instance, in Australia flocks of  ibis frequently forage for grasshoppers and other leaf-eating insects that can destroy crops.  As each bird can consume up to 25% of its body weight in grasshoppers in one day, there is less need for costly and polluting chemical spraying to control insect pests.

  1. Wetlands provide locations for recreation

Many coastal and inland wetlands are popular for tourism and recreational activities such as nature walks, picnics,swimming, boating, fishing, camping and birdwatching.  As more people flock to cities, these recreational spaces in nature become even more valuable.

  1. Wetlands play aesthetic, spiritual and scientific roles

Wetlands have Aboriginal cultural significance, historical significance and are important for science and education. They are beautiful green and blue spaces that deserve our respect and protection.

 

For a more complete report on the benefits that wetlands provide visit these U.S. Government websites:

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/water/wetlands/why-are-wetlands-important

https://www.aquarium.co.za/blog/entry/11-reasons-why-wetlands-are-vital-for-humans-and-animals

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/estuaries/estuaries03_ecosystem.html

 

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