What it is
A marshy area with saturated soils and water-loving plants. Natural wetlands – swamps, bogs, sloughs, potholes and marshes – vary in size, shape and type. A wetland may have standing water year-round or may hold surface water for only part of the year. Through NRCS assistance, wetlands can be created, enhanced or restored. In most cases, the land must be suitable for wetland and wildlife benefits.
How it helps
- Provide habitat for pollinators, fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species
- Improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals
- Reduce soil erosion and downstream flooding
- Recharge groundwater supplies
- Protect biological diversity
- Provide opportunities for educational, scientific and recreational opportunities
- Generate farm income through programs that offer financial incentives for restoring wetlands
- Are the soils, hydrology, vegetative conditions and adjacent landscape conducive to wetlands?
- Will there be any adverse effects on adjacent landowners?
- What type of vegetation do you want in your wetland?
- What wildlife do you want to attract to your wetland?
- Consider providing vegetation, such as milkweed, to encourage pollinators.
Maintenance of wetlands consists of:
- Repair of embankments
- Control density of desirable vegetation
- Removal of invasive and/or nonnative species that could be a problem in native habitats
- Debris and sediment removal
- Repair of fences or other ancillary features
- Replacement of wetland plants
- Repair of pipelines and spillways
- Control of unwanted rodents or vectors (mosquitoes)
Through NRCS assistance, wetlands can be created, enhanced, or restored. Wetlands are essential components of healthy watersheds because they encourage habitat variability and increase biodiversity. They also provide essential ecosystem services such as processing nutrients, improving water quality, and replenishing groundwater supplies.