Wetland

Marsh-type area with saturated soils and water-loving plants.                                             
Wetlands provide wildlife habitat and serve as natural filters for agricultural runoff.

How it works

Natural wetlands—swamps, bogs, sloughs, potholes and marshes—occur in every state in the Nation and vary widely in size, shape and type. Sloughs, potholes and marshes in low-lying areas are most common in Iowa. A wetland may have standing water year-round or may hold surface water for only part of the year.

How it helps

The many values of wetlands are only recently being fully understood and appreciated. Among the benefits of wetlands are: Wetlands can provide natural pollution control. They remove nutrients, pesticides and bacteria from surface waters and can act as efficient, low cost sewage and animal waste treatment practices. Wetlands filter and collect sediment from runoff water. Because wetlands slow overland flow and store runoff water, they reduce both soil erosion and flooding downstream. Many wetlands release water slowly into the ground which recharges groundwater supplies. All of America's ducks and geese depend on wetlands for breeding, nesting, and feeding habitat. More than 5,000 plant species, 190 species of amphibians, and one-third of all native bird species are supported by wetlands. The ecological diversity of wetlands can offer one of the most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing features of a farm.

Planning ahead

Goose nests, wood duck boxes, and other protection for water fowl and habitat for adjoining uplands may be added to enhance the wildlife and recreational value of a wetland.

Maintenance

Mostly it's best to leave wetlands alone.
They can be enhanced, however, by adding plants or water to a relatively dry wetland.