Wetland professionals already know that, ‘If you want a comfortable job, don’t work in wetlands’ or stated otherwise, this way there be dragons. However, if you thrive on constant challenge, high learning curves, new discoveries and tortuous public policy, then a profession in the field of wetlands is where you belong. You are a Wetlandkeeper.
While some folks might wonder what the attraction is, those of us who work in wetlands know it’s because this area of public policy is so important and so difficult. Often there is no easy way to balance individual and public interests in water resources. At the same time there is nothing more vital. Healthy wetlands are of enormous importance to our overall social and economic well-being. They ensure clean drinking water, abundant wildlife, protection from floods and hurricanes and economic security for millions of Americans. But when times are hard there are always efforts to weaken programs that protect wetlands and other natural resources. That is certainly true now.
After years of steady progress reducing the loss of wetlands and developing scientifically sound ways to restore and manage these resources, wetlands are under attack. Economic uncertainty has led to the introduction of legislation at the federal and state level that will weaken existing wetland protection and reduce funding for voluntary programs. The choices in front of Congress and state legislatures will have consequences for both current and future generations. They merit our attention and balanced public debate.
This is why the Association’s mission has always been to advocate for using sound science to develop and inform public policy around wetlands. It can be an important tool in finding an appropriate balance. Also essential is making information about wetlands readily available to everyone and keeping people informed about what’s happening nearby and around the country.
To be honest, a lot of the work we do sounds dull: writing reports, developing web pages, hosting webinars and organizing coalitions to share information. But don’t be deceived. It’s all for the people who depend on our services. These are the tools they need to understand the issues and negotiate a balanced approach. We’re proud to do the work we do because we are inspired by the people we serve: the Wetlandkeepers.
For 2012 Annual Report, click here.