Wetlands are areas of saturated land where water covers soil. Water saturation largely determines how the soil develops and the types of plant and animal communities living in and on the soil. These amazing ecosystems support both aquatic and terrestrial species. Multiple waterfowl and other bird species, along with mammal, reptile, amphibian, fish, and insect species, depend on wetlands for their survival. Roughly 45 percent of species found in wetlands are rare and endangered.
Wetlands also filter, clean and store, acting like kidneys for other ecosystems.
Yet wetlands are disappearing at a rapid rate due to development, erosion, and a lack of freshwater inflow to bring sediments. Climate change is also impacting wetlands, causing ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise, as well as bringing on more extreme weather events.
Wetlands Fast Facts
There are two types of wetlands, tidal and non-tidal.
Up to half of North American bird species nest or feed in wetlands.
An acre of wetland can store one to one-and-a half million gallons of floodwater.
Over 95% of commercially harvested fish and shellfish depend on wetlands.
More than a third of endangered species rely directly or indirectly on wetlands for survival.
Source: National Wildlife Federation