What is a Wetland?
Wetlands are transition areas-they have both aquatic and terrestrial features. They are dominated with plants adapted to life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands are not necessarily wet all the time. In the summer, our freshwater wetlands on the Gulf Coast dry out completely and yet remain functional year after year.
Why are they important?
Wetlands clean water in a variety of ways. Sediments are filtered out of water by the plants themselves. The unique biogeochemistry of wetlands transforms pollutants into less harmful forms. For example, Nitrate is transformed into harmless nitrogen gas. Many pathogens are also removed by microbial predation as well as solar disinfection. Overall, wetlands perform extraordinary water treatment services that has been well understood and documented in the literature.
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