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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wetlands Education by The Environment Report


Swamp
Photo by KariMelissa.
Conservancy groups across the country are trying to educate the public about the value of wetlands, not only to wildlife, but also humans. According to the Wetlands Initiative,
(w)etlands provide all of us with critical services. They remove pollutants and toxic substances, reduce flood and storm damages, provide important habitat for wildlife, recharge groundwater supplies, and provide valuable open space and recreational opportunities, such as fishing, hunting and bird watching.
GLRC's Julie Grant recently took a trip to Morgan Swamp in Northeast Ohio to tour the wetlands. She writes:
One hundred years ago people were draining swamps and other wetlands as quickly as possible. In many places, farmers wanted the land to grow crops. But biologists and others have come to realize the value of wetlands as habitat for wildlife and as a filter to clean the water. Now, one group is opening up a swamp to the public so that more people understand why wetlands are important.
According to the Nature Conservancy website, Morgan Swamp is
one of a series of wetlands that occur on stream terraces along the Grand River Lowlands. Some 12,000 years ago, the area was occupied by a glacial lake which deposited silt and clay ranging in depth from 5 to 50 feet. The impermeable clay soils plus the low relief of the area result in conditions conducive for the formation of swamp forest, marshes, sphagnum bogs, sedge meadows, and beaver ponds.
Julie reports that:
(m)ore than half of the nation's wetlands have been drained, much of that happened in the mid 1800s. These lowlands were no exception. Biological historians say the land around here was once a swampy forest. But people chopped down the trees, they drained swamps and marshes, and they started farming this river valley in Ohio.

Randy Edwards is spokesman for the Nature Conservancy. He says draining the wetlands back then changed the way the river flowed. "We have made an effort to restore them and bring back the natural water flow to the area. We've had a lot of help from the beavers."

That's right, he said they've restored wetlands with the help of the beavers.

"I'm serious. They may not know it, but the beavers are an important partner of ours in the restoration of wetlands in Ohio."
Read or listen to TOURS EDUCATE PUBLIC ABOUT WETLANDS by The Environment Report
View search results on Absolute Michigan keyword "wetlands" for many more stories and links!

# posted by Tami @ 11:09 AM
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