A wetland manager’s activities can range from wastewater treatment to waterfowl population management.
Importance of Wetland Management
Agricultural enterprises and ever-expanding urban areas pose a constant threat to wetland ecosystems. A wetland manager obtains the skills to identify boundaries of wetlands to help prevent unnecessary degradation of these valuable ecosystems. This process is known as wetland delineation.
Wetland delineation establishes the existence and physical limits of a wetland for the purpose of federal, state and local regulations.
Before wetlands were regarded as unique and valuable ecosystems, they were frequently viewed as wastelands. They were unable to be farmed or built upon because of their inherent ability to sustain water. Once they became recognized for their natural water-cleansing abilities and critical habitat for many forms of wildlife, governing agencies took measures to encourage their general preservation. In 1988, a federally sponsored National Wetland Policy Forum raised public awareness of wetland loss and recommended a policy known as “No Net Loss.”
In 1992, the National Research Council set a goal of gaining ten million acres of wetlands by the year 2010, through creating and restoring wetlands.
Wetland restoration is the process of returning hydrology (flooding) to areas of land by reversing drainage. Wetland creation, the process of developing a wetland where there was not one previously, is a growing area in wetland management that is expected to help counter the loss of wetlands to agriculture and urban sprawl.
Wetland Management Goals
- Maintain water quality
- Buffer stormwater
- Reduce erosion
- Control insect populations
- Produce and sustain wildlife populations
- Provide a natural system to process pollutants
- Maintain a diverse gene pool of native hydrophytic vegetation
- Provide habitat for fish spawning and other food organisms
- Provide aesthetic and psychological retreats for humans
- Further scientific knowledge and inquiries
Mitsch, William J., Gosselink, James G. (1993) Wetlands. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold