Last week, I heard that some of our state’s representatives in budget meetings were questioning why we need to restore wetlands. An official of the State’s Program in charge of wetland restoration responded that is was because they are protected by federal law. True, some wetlands are protected by federal law but that doesn’t explain their importance or why we do this type of work. This was truly a teachable moment of some of our most important decision-makers that was lost.
Wetlands provide many functions from which we benefit. These include storing and infiltrating stormwater, purifying and replenishing ground water, and providing unique habitat to both aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna. And while they may be protected by laws, the reason we have those laws is because they provide a wide array of service from which we benefit.
So while laws protect these natural resources, the services that wetlands provide make them worthy of these protections.