Why They Matter
Natural Water Filters
Wetlands are the world’s water filters. They trap pollutants such as phosphorus and heavy metals in their soils, transform dissolved nitrogen into nitrogen gas, and break down suspended solids to neutralize harmful bacteria. New York City found that it could save $3-8 billion in new wastewater treatment plants by purchasing and preserving $1.5 billion in land around its upstate reservoirs.
Storm Protection and Flood Control
Wetlands help to minimize impacts from flooding by providing an area for water to move and slow down during storm events. When big storms, like hurricanes, sweep through an area, coastal wetlands, barrier islands, and coastal vegetation can help to buffer the wind and waves, reducing their power for destruction.
Home for Species
There is a large variety of wetland habitat types found around the world and each supports their own community of plant and animal species. In addition to terrestrial and aquatic life, birds also find wetlands to be welcoming places for pit stops during long migrations because they provide protection and food on their long journeys.