Q:

What are the benefits of wetlands?

A:

Quick Answer

Wetlands offer several ecological benefits, including the purification of water. They serve as sponges to absorb toxins and sediment before runoff enters streams, lakes or the groundwater supply. They provide important habitats for wildlife and recreational places for people.

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Full Answer

As runoff water enters a wetland, the area serves as a buffer to slow its flow. The plants that grow there form barriers to reduce soil erosion. As the water slows, suspended materials fall out of suspension, which benefits fish and other animals by reducing sediment flowing into streams. Wetland plants, such as cattails, help to absorb toxins from the water. As a wetland stores water, some of it soaks into the ground. This purified water helps to replenish ground water supplies.

The nutrients from the sediment encourage the growth of plants that provide shelter and food for wildlife. In the United States, about 43 percent of endangered and threatened plants and animals live in wetlands. Wetlands provide a place for the birth of many different animal species.

Humans often enjoy wetlands as a place for recreation. Wetlands provide a place for people to reconnect with nature, whether they are bird watching, taking photographs or enjoying a ride in a canoe.

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