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May 11, 2011

American Wetland Month

May is the month to recognize and celebrate the wonderful ways wetlands enrich the environment and people.  It is a time to give back to the environment by learning more about wetlands and participating in the many scheduled events. 

Why celebrate wetlands?

Wetlands are among the most valuable but least understood of all natural resources.  They provide rich habitat for wildlife.  They are places in which many animals and birds build nests and raise their young.  Migrating birds stop over in wetlands to rest and to feed.  We celebrate wetlands each May when they are teeming with new animal and plant life. 

Wetlands benefit our communities as well.  They replenish and clean water supplies and reduce flood risks, provide recreational opportunities and aesthetic benefits.  They serve as sites for scientific research and education, and benefit commercial fishing. 

Unfortunately, wetlands have been misundserstood for many years, often viewed as wastelands to be drained and converted to other uses.  But if wetlands disappear, water will not be as clean, fish and bird populations will suffer, and the frequency and severity of floods will increase.  Americans have begun to recognize the value of wetlands, and the rate of loss has declined dramatically over the last 30 years.  It is important that we continue to stop the loss of wetlands and begin to achieve a net gain through better management and restoration.  Learn how you can help by discovering more about wetlands and participating in events celebrating American Wetlands Month.

Wetland protection and you:

Government regulations and zoning restrictions are not enough to protect and restore wetlands. 
Citizens must also participate in wetland protection efforts.  You can identify your watershed and find any wetlands in your neighborhood by visiting National Wetlands Inventory.  Caring, devoted volunteers can make a big difference.

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