To celebrate, take time to visit a wetland in your area and enjoy the birds and diverse plant life that populate these important ecosystems.
For the daily dose of education, wetlands are defined by the EPA as,
[T]he vital link between land and water, where the flow of water, the cycling of nutrients, and the energy of the sun meet to produce highly productive ecosystems with unique plant and animal life.
Wetlands are home to over 30% of plant species in North America; are a breeding ground for over 50% of North American birds; and are an essential link in the life cycle of 75% of the fish and shellfish harvested in the US.
Their benefits include improved water quality by filtering and decomposing pollutants, reduced flood risk by retaining storm waters, and they slow global warming by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.
To get an idea on the current state of wetlands in New York City – this area once contained over 224,000 acres of freshwater wetlands. Today, after 200 years of construction, there remains just 2,000 acres. Nationwide though, the last national report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicated that wetland gains exceeded losses between 1998 and 2004.