09-21-20 03:56 PM Comment(s)

What is a wetland?


Land or areas (such as marshes or swamps) that are covered often intermittently with shallow water or have soil saturated with moisture —usually used in plural. “Wetland.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary

Common Names:

Bog, fen, marsh, marshland, mire, moor, morass, muskeg, slough (also slew or slue), swamp, swampland, wash.

Where to see wetlands:
Topographic map


Wetlands can vary based on location and regional differences such as topography, hydrology, vegetation. The commonality of all wetlands: water. However, the fauna/flora vary throughout the world.


Wetland hydrology is associated with the spatial and temporal dispersion, flow, and physio-chemical attributes of surface and ground water in its reservoirs. There are 3 categories: riverine (streams/rivers), lacustrine (lakes), palustrine (isolated). Hydrochemistry within wetlands is determined by the pH, salinity, nutrients, conductivity, soil composition, hardness, and the sources of water. Water chemistry of wetlands varies across landscapes and climatic regions.

Soil Composition:

Carbon is the major nutrient cycled within wetlands. Most nutrients, such as sulfur, phosphorus, carbon, and nitrogen are found within the soil of wetlands. Anaerobic and aerobic respiration in the soil influences the nutrient cycling of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, and the solubility of phosphorus thus contributing to the chemical variations in its water.


There are many animals and plants that only reside in wetland areas throughout the world.

United States Regulating Body(s):

  • Environmental Protection Agency - The US Clean Water Act is a federal document that protects certain environmentally vulnerable lands. This includes wetlands found in the United States.
  • Army Core of Engineers - The lead agency for wetlands - this power is deferred from EPA. This agency is in charge of "navigable waters of the US" which includes wetlands. The term jurisdictional is what determines if ACE has control of an area. They also help to determine wetland "credits" when mitigating sites.
  • State Level - Although not directly in charge of wetlands these groups tend to bring awareness and "protect" vulnerable areas.

Wetland Uses:
  • Water Storage
  • Groundwater replenishment
  • Shore stabilization
  • Water purification
  • Biodiversity
  • Pollination
  • Cultural Values
  • Recreation
  • Tourism