Wetlands

Whether coastal marshes, inland swamps, or remote bogs, wetlands play an important ecological, economic, and cultural role in societies around the world.  Wetlands are technically defined by hydrology patterns, soil characteristics and/or types of vegetation present in a certain area. The valuable services they provide include water quality improvement and protection, water storage during flooding, erosion control in coastal areas, and rich and diverse wildlife habitat.


 

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Keoladeo (Bharatpur) National Park, India Last Updated on 2014-07-07 14:58:21 Keoladeo (Bhartpur) National Park (27°10'N, 77°31'E is a World Heritage Site situated in eastern Rajasthan. The park is 2 kilometers (km) south-east of Bharatpur and 50km west of Agra. Established as a national park on 10 March 1982. Previously the private duck shooting preserve of the Maharaja of Bharatpur since the 1850's, the area was designated as a bird sanctuary on 13 March 1956 and a Ramsar site in October 1981. The last big shoot was held in 1964 but the Maharajah retained shooting rights until 1972. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1985. 2,873 hectares (ha) Rajasthan State Government 174 meters (m) The area consists of a flat patchwork of marshes in the Gangetic plain, artificially created in the 1850s and maintained ever since by a system of canals, sluices and dykes. Normally, water is fed into the marshes twice a... More »
Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, California Last Updated on 2014-07-01 16:13:44 The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of 27 National Estuarine Research Reserves established nationwide as field laboratories for scientific research and estuarine education. Elkhorn Slough is one of the relatively few coastal wetlands remaining in California. The main channel of the slough, which winds inland nearly seven miles, is flanked by a broad salt marsh second in size in California only to San Francisco Bay. The reserve lands also include oak woodlands, grasslands and freshwater ponds that provide essential coastal habitats that support a great diversity of native organisms and migratory animals. More than 400 species of invertebrates, 80 species of fish and 200 species of birds have been identified in Elkhorn Slough. The channels and tidal creeks of the slough are nurseries for many species of fish. At least six threatened or endangered species... More »
Enriquillo wetlands Last Updated on 2014-06-30 17:20:34 WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Collection Consisting of a series of lagoons, this ecoregion corresponds to the remains of an old marine channel that divided the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti) into two paleoislands more than 5000 years ago. The largest lake in this ecoregion, Lake Enriquillo in the Dominican Republic is the largest and most hypersaline lake in all of the Antilles. It consists of a depression that is approximately 44 meters (m) below sea level, surrounded by thorny subtropical mountains and dry forests of great biological interest. This lake is home to the largest population of American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), although currently its populations are at risk. It is also the habitat for the iguana cornuda (Cyclura cornuta), which is endemic to the island of Hispaniola and the iguana de Ricord (C. ricordi), the... More »
Swamp Last Updated on 2014-06-30 15:21:13 A swamp is any wetland dominated by woody plants. There are many different kinds of swamps, ranging from the forested red maple, (Acer rubrum), swamps of the Northeast, to the extensive bottomland hardwood forests found along the sluggish rivers of the Southeast. Swamps are characterized by saturated soils during the growing season, and standing water during certain times of the year. The highly organic soils of swamps form a thick, black, nutrient-rich environment for the growth of water-tolerant trees such as cypress (Taxodium spp.), Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), and tupelo (Nyssa aquatica). Some swamps are dominated by shrubs, such as buttonbush or smooth alder. Plants, birds, fish, and invertebrates such as freshwater shrimp, crayfish, and clams require the habitats provided by swamps. Many rare species, such as the endangered American crocodile depend on... More »
Backyard wetland Last Updated on 2014-06-25 17:26:29 Wetlands filter excess pesticides and nutrients. Many plants and animals find a home in wetlands. A mini-wetland in your yard can provide many of the same benefits that natural wetlands offer. A mini-wetland can replace the important natural functions of wetlands that may have been lost when your community was developed. A wetland in your backyard will temporarily store, filter, and clean runoff water from your roof and lawn. It will provide habitat for many interesting creatures--from butterflies and bees to salamanders, toads, frogs, and birds. Most wetland plants do not require standing water to grow successfully, and will survive even in an area that appears dry during most of the growing season. If you have a naturally occurring wet spot in your yard, or a low swale or drainageway with heavy clay soils, you easily can turn it into a wetland paradise. Even if you do... More »