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Celebrate World Water Week with Nature's Most Vital Resource

From clean water to flood protection and homes for wildlife, wetlands provide many services to communities

For years, people thought wetlands were buggy, boggy, nuisances that needed to be drained and filled. This resulted in the loss of over two-thirds of our Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Today, we know that wetlands have a profound impact on our landscapes, and offer countless benefits to birds, other wildlife and people.  They are found in every state in the U.S. and there is likely a wetland in your neighborhood. 

Wetlands provide many services to communities around the globe. They provide clean water, flood and drought protection, and shoreline erosion control to name a few! Wetlands also provide opportunities for recreation such as kayaking, birding, and photography.  

Wetlands are one of the most productive habitats in the world and support a wide variety of wildlife! In fact, 40 percent of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands, including hundreds of bird species! Great Lakes vulnerable marsh birds such as the Least Bittern, Sora, and Black Terns rely on wetlands each spring and summer. Huge congregations of shorebirds and waterfowl can be found in wetlands as they rest and refuel on their migratory journeys. Even some songbirds, like the Prothonotary Warbler, rely on wetlands during migration. 

Wetlands are “nature’s kidneys.” Wetlands clean water by holding onto and processing sediment and pollutants before they travel downstream or into the groundwater. Most people and communities that rely on well water are likely having some portion of their water cleaned by wetlands, saving them money they would otherwise pay to treat the water. 

Wetlands mitigate flood damages. Wetlands slow down the flow of excess stormwater and store it, releasing it more slowly than flash floods which tear up the landscape and everything in it. As a general guideline, an acre of wetland can hold onto 1 million gallons of water An important role and many communities rely on ground water for part of their drinking water supply.  

Wetlands serve as habitat and home for wildlife. There are thousands of animal species including birds, fish, insects, mamamals, reptiles, amphibians, all need wetlands to live and grown. Many of these birds and other wildlifre are declining in populations and depend on different types of wetlands being on the landscape at certain times of the year and during certain phases of their life cycle.

In celebration of World Water Week, we invite you to learn about some of the most important Great Lakes wetlands near you by exploring Audubon Great Lakes’ Priority Regions and plan to restore and protect the highest priority 300,000 acres of coastal wetlands in the Great Lakes. Tour some of these wetlands in Wisconsin, learn more about the importance of wetland protections in Indiana from a recent poll, explore Michigan’s premier Wetland Wonders, or get outside to visit your local public lands and waters! 

Want to get more involved? Learn how you can become a part of Audubon Great Lakes’ wetlands conservation and stewardship programs or sign up for our newsletter. 

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