In celebration of World Wetlands Day, we would like to express our deep appreciation and gratitude for the organizations who work tirelessly to keep our planet’s wetlands clean and safe, restore these areas from damage created, and ensure that preservation measures are kept. Wetlands are incredible ecosystems, teeming with various species of microbes, insects, birds, fish, and many other animals and abundant plant-life.
The dynamic between these organisms and the wetlands’ environment is complex. Organic matter derived from plants in the area is essential for insects to survive, which are then needed to feed the many fish and amphibians who also call these wetlands their home. Lastly, larger animals, such as birds and reptiles require the great diversity of fish and amphibian species to survive themselves. Wetlands thus provide a nutrient, resource-rich environment for the great circle of life to take its course.
These incredible ecosystems are not only beneficial to the organisms who reside in them, but to people as well! Wetlands naturally improve the water quality surrounding them by removing harmful pollutants on the surface of the water “through sediment trapping, nutrient removal, and chemical detoxification” (DEC). Not only do these areas filter and purify the water, they also provide flood protection for our communities, control the effects of erosion on shorelines, and provide excellent (and essential) sources of fish and shellfish for our fishing economies.
Sadly, oil spills, fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutant runoff threaten the health of important species of plants and animals in these areas. “More than one-third of the United States’ threatened and endangered species live only in wetlands, and nearly half use wetlands at some point in their lives” (EPA.gov). As wetlands throughout the world serve as such important components of the planet’s ecosystems, we would like to recognize the following organizations who work throughout the year to preserve our wetlands’ natural beauty and value.
The Conservation Fund
One of many ways the Conservation Fund effectively protects our planet’s environment is through their efforts in conserving the world’s wetlands and watersheds. “By planting trees and developing key strategies for their preservation and restoration, [they] help protect these fragile ecosystems, ensuring they remain a vibrant and healthy part of every community” (CF). As a thank you for their dedicated efforts to protect the integrity and value our lands, waters, and communities, you can donate to their cause by following this link: Conservation Fund
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is another great organization that works to repair and recover damages caused in coastal and marine habitats. These areas are essential for the nation’s fishing economy and for the communities who surround our coastlines. “When a coastal wetland is lost or degraded by oil spills, invasive species, or decreased tidal or river flow, we help restore these valuable areas. The NOAA Restoration Center provides funding and technical assistance to communities that want to restore wetland[s]”. The NOAA receives funding primarily from Congress, as it’s a federal agency, but we can all raise awareness for their mission by getting connected with their multimedia announcements and press releases.
The Wetlands Initiative
The Wetlands Initiative is partnered with 25 listed organizations who strive in collaboration to restore wetland areas throughout the country. Their mission: “The Wetlands Initiative designs, restores, and creates wetlands. We innovate, collaborate, and employ sound science to improve water quality, habitat for plants and wildlife, and our climate”. For more information, visit the official website here.
The Society of Wetland Scientists
The Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) “promotes [the] understanding, conservation, protection, restoration, science-based management, and sustainability of wetlands”. They are committed to educating the public regarding wetland protection and conservation, as well as their continued sustainability. For information about supporting this great organization, please follow this link.
“Wetlands International is the only global not-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands. We are deeply concerned about the loss and deterioration of wetlands such as lakes, marshes and rivers. Our vision is a world where wetlands are treasured and nurtured for their beauty, the life they support and the resources they provide. Wetlands International is dedicated to maintaining and restoring wetlands—for their environmental values as well as for the services they provide to people”. To donate to their global cause, follow this link.