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Association of State Wetland Managers

About Wetlands

wetland state parkWetlands. Why are they so important? Wetlands provide unique habitat for waterfowl, certain mammals and amphibians, reptiles, aquatic insects, fish and birds. Depending on the type of wetland, whether it is a freshwater marsh, a tidal estuary, a peat bog or fen, forested wetland or swamp, headwater streams or saltwater marsh, a wetland performs different types of “services” for a watershed. Wetlands are often nicknamed the “kidneys” of a watershed because they filter out toxins, which improves water quality for surrounding streams, rivers, lakes and other wetlands. But they also perform other functions, such as flood attenuation, water storage, providing habitat for wetland-dependent species and recreation opportunities for people, including nature-watching, birding, hunting, hiking, paddling and fishing. Wetlands also help natural resource managers better understand climate change impacts, such as sea level rise and natural hazards like hurricanes. Because wetlands are naturally carbon sinks, which means they can sequester carbon, they are part of the solution for reducing greenhouse gasses. For all of these reasons and many more, it is essential to protect and conserve wetlands.

Realistically, resource managers face a number of challenges to protecting wetlands. Sprawl and development pressure, confusing Supreme Court cases and legal battles, climate change impacts and invasive species, plus the public’s general lack of understanding about the value of wetlands hinder the wetland manager’s ability to protect wetlands. This is not just a regional or national issue of importance—it is a global issue. This webpage will direct you to general information about wetlands. For more specific topics in wetland science and policy in the U.S., navigate to other sections of the website using the menu bar across the top.

  • Wetlands Regulation History (Article Count: 10)

                       
                             

    Estuaries are a happy land, rich in the continent itself, stirred by the forces of nature like the soup of a French chef; the home of myriad forms of life from bacteria and protozoans to grasses and mammals; the nursery, resting place, and refuge of countless things.
                       —
    Stanley A. Cain, Former Secretary to the Department of the Interior

             
  • Wetlands (Article Count: 10)

     

    Dismal Swamp flowerWetlands. Why are they so important? Wetlands provide unique habitat for waterfowl, certain mammals and amphibians, reptiles, aquatic insects, fish and birds. Depending on the type of wetland, whether it is a freshwater marsh, a tidal estuary, a peat bog or fen, forested wetland or swamp, headwater streams or saltwater marsh, a wetland performs different types of “services” for a watershed. Wetlands are often nicknamed the “kidneys” of a watershed because they filter out toxins, which improves water quality for surrounding streams, rivers, lakes and other wetlands.

    But they also perform other functions, such as flood attenuation, water storage, providing habitat for wetland-dependent species and recreation opportunities for people, including nature-watching, birding, hunting, hiking, paddling and fishing. Wetlands also help natural resource managers better understand climate change impacts, such as sea level rise and natural hazards like hurricanes. For all of these reasons and many more, it is essential to protect and conserve wetlands.

    Realistically, resource managers face a number of challenges to protecting wetlands. Sprawl and development pressure, confusing Supreme Court cases and legal battles, climate change impacts and invasive species, plus the public’s general lack of understanding about the value of wetlands hinder the wetland manager’s ability to protect wetlands. This is not just a regional or national issue of importance—it is a global issue. For more specific topics in wetland science and policy in the U.S., navigate to other sections of the website using the menu across the top.

    Learn about the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park from Dr. William Mitsch

     

     

     

  • Wetland Bookshelf (Article Count: 12)

    Want to read more about wetlands? Get your feet wet on ASWM's Wetland Bookshelf, which houses a collection of titles of wetland-related books. These books are considered “recommended reading” by our members, staff and colleagues. The Wetland Bookshelf includes titles available through many Wetland Bookshelfbookstores as well as those available through other websites. Please consider going through GoodShop.com in order to make purchases that will benefit ASWM in a small way. GoodShop allows online shoppers to buy items on a number of websites. Be sure to put "Association of State Wetland Managers" where it asks for the name of the charity/organization. Then search for a book title under Product Search, or choose a store. To recommend a book title for this list, please contact us. To search for a specific book, or to browse the Wetland Bookshelf, click on a topic or genre below.