The Importance of Wetlands

The Importance of Wetlands

Some people don’t think of wetlands in a positive way, if they think of wetlands at all. They may think the words swamp, bog, and marsh—all wetlands–have a negative connotation, and completely overlook the immense value of wetlands and the countless benefits they provide. But wetlands are a vital resource and worthy of conservation and protection.

What are wetlands? Wetlands are areas where water covers soil all or part of the year. The vegetation and wildlife found in a wetlands have adapted to thrive in saturated soil conditions.


Wetlands help dissipate floodwaters, recharge groundwater supplies, filter out pollution, provide fish and wildlife habitat, and, in riparian wetlands such as those in the Mianus River Watershed, sustain the health of downstream water sources.


–          In the event of a flood, wetlands can act as a sponge to soak up extra water. Wetlands also dissipate floodwaters and slow down rushing water.

–          Wetlands contribute to the groundwater supplies that feed private wells, the drinking water supply for so many in this region.

–          Wetlands filter pollution from runoff from roads and storm water.

–          A wide array of fish, amphibians, and other wildlife depend on wetlands throughout their lifecycles.


Wetlands and buffer areas around them are protected by law to preserve, protect and conserve freshwater wetlands and their benefits. Wetlands are protected on the local, state (The Freshwater Wetlands Act in NY and the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act in CT), and national (The Clean Water Act) levels. Localities often have a Wetlands Control Commission whose mission is to implement Freshwater Wetlands Protection Law.

Please visit your town’s web site to learn about permit requirements for construction, excavation, or anything that could cause disturbance to a wetlands or wetlands buffer.

Click here for the full brochure on The Importance of Wetlands.

Healthy wetlands by William Abranowicz
Posted in Stewardship & Land Management.