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