May is American Wetlands Month—a time to celebrate one of nature’s most productive ecosystems!
Healthy wetlands are vital to local communities, economies and wildlife across the United States. They recharge groundwater, remove pollutants, mitigate floods, comprise essential wildlife habitat and provide hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities. In addition, approximately half of all species listed under the Endangered Species Act and 40 percent of all U.S. wildlife species are reliant on wetlands, including millions of waterfowl and migratory birds.
There are many types of wetlands, including coastal wetlands, potholes, vernal pools, bogs, and swamps, and each provide unique ecosystem benefits. Unfortunately, wetlands face numerous challenges, such as and sea level rise, as well as drainage, fill and excavation. These factors drive the need for wetland conservation and restoration.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works to protect and preserve wetlands for future generations though various programs. The Service's National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) protects high quality wetland habitat within many of its 568 refuges spread across the United States. The Coastal Program promotes cooperative coastal wetland conservation so that wildlife and local communities thrive. The Migratory Birds Program works with partners to protect, restore and conserve bird populations and their habitats for the benefit of future generations. The National Wetlands Inventory Program provides the foundational information necessary for the Service and all Americans to strategically manage our wetland habitats and associated ecosystem benefits.
Follow our Stories throughout the month to learn more about these amazing habitats and the role the Service plays in conserving them.