To coincide with American Wetlands Month, which begins May 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the completion of the most comprehensive and detailed U.S. wetland data set ever produced, capping a 35-year effort by the Service to map the extent of the nation’s wetlands.
The Wetlands Inventory Mapper has digitally mapped and made publicly available wetlands in the lower 48 states, Hawaii and dependent territories, as well as 35 % of Alaska. It is an invaluable aid to landowners, developers, government planners and permitting authorities, conservation organizations and academic institutions in their collective efforts to ensure wetland conservation and inform economic development.
Wetlands provide habitat for thousands of species of fish, wildlife and plants, and act as nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish of commercial significance. They also provide important ecological services such as flood control, water filtration and the supply of groundwater, and they provide recreational and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of people.
Wetlands are facing numerous, ongoing challenges, such as agriculture, development and resource extraction, as well as sea level rise, increasing storm severity and drought due to climate change.
See Also: Wetlands Info Search