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Wetlands, Lakes & Streams



1. How Your Watershed Can benefit With Wetlands

Wetlands room a key link in watershed management. The function that castle play in ours watersheds is an essential to protecting water quality and also moderating water quantity. Swamp habitat offer as house for plenty of plants and also animals. Even the national—and in many locations the local—economy has a significant connection to wetlands.

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Essentially wetlands space the change between dried land and water (streams, rivers, lakes, and also coastlines), wetlands take numerous forms consisting of the acquainted marshes, swamps and bogs. Yet, not all wetlands room "wet" year round. These "drier end" wetlands also perform far-reaching wetland functions. Yet, these are frequently the target for numerous uses including farming and urban/suburban uses.

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7 ways your Watershed can Benefit:

1. Enhance water top quality by breaking down, removing, utilizing or retaining nutrients, necessary waste and also sediment brought to the wetland v runoff indigenous the watershed.2. Reduce severity the floods downstream by retaining water and also releasing it throughout drier periods.3. Protect stream banks and shorelines indigenous erosion.4. Recharge groundwater, potentially reducing water shortages during dry spells.5. Administer food and also other products-such as commercial fish and also shellfish-for person use.6. Administer fish and wildlife-including numerous rare and also endangered species-food habitat, reproduction grounds, and resting areas.7. Increase opportunities for recreation-bird watching, waterfowl hunting, photography-and the end education.

Why take into consideration wetlands in her watershed?

Without wetlands, we deserve to expect rise in flooding, to decrease of animal, plant and also bird species, boost in erosion, to decrease in water quality, and lost revenue.

Vegetated riparian wetlands in agricultural areas have proven to remove high percentages the phosphorus and nitrogen native runoff water. Without these wetlands, enhanced nutrient loading to rivers, streams and also lakes could result in algal blooms and over-abundant aquatic plant growth. As soon as these algae and also plants die, oxygen in the water is used during the decomposition process. This can result in oxygen deprivation, i beg your pardon may lead to fish kills.

When agriculture and advancement practices impact wetlands, the water storage and flood manage capacity of the land decreases, enhancing the likelihood of i have lot of money flood damages downstream.

Wetland benefits

Wetlands are valuable systems that carry out many services to your watershed including:

Reduced water treatment costs

Wetlands can aid improve water top quality by removing or retaining nutrients, organics, and sediment carried by runoff. The circulation of water slows together it enters a wetland, which reasons sediment in the water to work out out. Numerous chemicals — fertilizers, human and household wastes, toxic compounds —are tied come sediment and also trapped in wetlands. Plants and the biological processes current in a wetland breakdown and convert these pollutants into less harmful substances. By restoring and also utilizing marsh functions, we deserve to reduce the costs of constructing, operating and maintaining drink water treatment plants.

Increased underground water availability

Wetlands "soak up" water during and also after a merganser spell. When wetlands "hold" many of the water, some water renders its means to the groundwater supply. Thus wetlands often fill the critical job the recharging groundwater so it’s accessible for usage at a later date.

Reduced flood damage

Another method wetlands are an important to people is their influence on the flow and quality the water. Wetlands often act like huge sponges, soaking up water that runs turn off the land. This attribute can aid slow floodwaters, lower flood heights and also reduce shoreline and stream bank erosion. Preserving herbal wetlands deserve to reduce or remove the require for expensive flood regulate structures.

Food and related markets

The vast bulk of our country fishing and shellfishing markets harvest wetland-dependent species. This record is valued in ~ $15 billion a year. Commercial anglers harvested virtually ten billion pounds the fish in 1996.

EPA approximates suggest that 98% that the Gulf that Mexico fishing market harvest originates from fish and also shellfish that are dependent top top in-shore wetlands. The us Department of commerce reports the 438 million pounds of brown, white and also pink shrimp to be harvested in 1995 and also 1996 (combined). This was worth much more than $838 million dockside.

Other wetland-reliant products include cranberries, blueberries, wild rice, medicines, pelts and also timber.

Diverse plants & animals

Wetlands add to diversity by giving food and habitat the supports a wide range of plants and animals. Detritus—enriched necessary material formed by the decay of plant and animal material in water—is food because that insects, shellfish and forage fish. In turn, fish (such together striped bass and also bluefish), mammals, reptiles and also amphibians feed turn off of the insects and also forage fish. The growth of wetland plants and algae is additionally nourished by nutrients the noted in the detritus.

Wetland plants carry out food and shelter because that fish and animals. Wetland-dependent mammals include: muskrat, beaver, moose, raccoon, bobcat, rabbit, and also white-tailed deer. Bald eagles, ospreys, hawks, egrets, herons and kingfishers are just a couple of of the bird that thrive in wetlands. The high organic productivity that wetlands makes them an essential ecosystems not just to the plants and animals that straight depend on them because that food and also shelter, yet to humans as well.


Revenue is also generated from waterfowl hunters in search of wetland-dependent birds. The 1996 national Survey the Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation reported 3.1 million adult americans hunt migratory birds. This consists of hunting for geese, ducks, doves, and other game birds. Lock spend around $1.3 exchange rate on travel, equipment and also other connected expenses.

Another recreational outlet is trapping. An EPA report puts the nation’s harvest of muskrat pelts worth end $70 million annually. This, of course, walk not include the worth of beaver, mink or reptiles such as alligators.

The herbal beauty and also solitude found in wetland areas provides avenues for bird watching, wildlife photography, painters, hikers and also simply relaxing while appreciating the wonders of nature. For countless people, wetlands space a an essential part of their lives providing a peaceful location to reflect while escaping indigenous the day-to-day stress and also strains.

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2. Knowledge WETLANDS just how wetlands form.

The formation and role of a swamp is propelled by its place in the watershed, the existence of water during far-ranging periods, soil high quality and, ultimately, plants and animals. In fact, soils and plants act together "identifiers" because that each wetland.

As sediment is deposited along river corridors, opportunistic plants and animals seek out the new habitat and also flourish. Together these areas mature, the soils adjust which influence the selection of plant and also animal species. Thus brand-new species may colonize. This procedure is called succession.

At the mouths the rivers (where a flow meets the ocean) sediments are regularly deposited developing alluvial plains. Marsh grasses uncover these locations desirable. In addition, other plants and many animals are then attracted to this deltas.

Other wetlands are developed by aging lakes the fill-in through sediments. This area support shrubs and trees adaptable to life in a wet environment.

Sustainable Wetlands rely on:

• Understanding just how the parts integrate into the whole system.• treating the source of existing problems not just manifestations.• understanding nature’s boundaries• discovering to live in balance with herbal systems.• You!

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The diversity of swamp habitat makes the identification and also classification of wetlands challenging. Wetlands space identified and also classified according to the varieties of plants, soils, hydrology or fads of water, and fish and/or wildlife communities present.

Swamps, marshes and also bogs are easily recognizable varieties of wetlands. Other types of wetlands might be less well known due to the fact that the quantity of water present will vary seasonally, with particular rainfall occasions or with snowmelt.

The plants the live in wetlands are specifically adapted to soils that room saturated v water and, at times, contain tiny oxygen. These plants, such together marsh grasses, are dubbed hydrophytes (literally water plants) and the soils where they thrive are described as "hydric soils." Some straightforward types the wetlands are:

Riverine Bottomlands/Hardwood woodlands

Riverine Bottomlands/Hardwood Forests: uncovered along the river corridors, these administer water storage during times of top precipitation, reduce floodwater and then progressively releasing the save water. Silver maple and also cottonwood are typical in northern regions. Bald cypress and tupelo overcome southern regions.

Northern Bogs

Northern Bogs: Saturated locations with mossy carpets and shrubs, grasses and stunted spruce trees. This cool wetland areas produce wild cranberries, harvested in autumn. Bogs influence the climate by save carbon dioxide in disk plant products (peat), thereby reducing that release into the air.

Cypress Swamps

Cypress Swamps: likewise known as domes, these are defined by high cypress trees growing in the center of the swamp. The tree filter pollutants like nitrates and also phosphates the reach the swamp via water runoff.

Coastal Marshes

Coastal Marshes: affected by the tides, these highly fertile ecosystems assistance the bulk of fish and also shellfish harvested. This wetlands provide feeding, spawning and also nursing areas for a multitude of invertebrates, birds and fish.

Prairie Potholes

Prairie Potholes: formed by receding glaciers that produced shallow depressions i beg your pardon seasonally fill v water, these room a favorite breeding and also feeding area because that North American ducks. These wetlands likewise play crucial role in recharging freshwater aquifers.

Runoff hazards

While wetlands have the right to reduce the impact of some pollutants, too lot pollution will negatively influence the wetland. Thus, the high quality of a marsh is dependent on the water flowing right into them...and the pollutants that the water carries v it from tasks in the watershed.

Runoff, originating v rainfall or snowmelt that includes pollutants—oil, grease, fertilizers or pesticides—is referred to as nonpoint source pollution. In enhancement to the potential that runoff polluting wetlands, it additionally can pollute various other surface waters such as lakes, rivers, and oceans. At some point it deserve to reach groundwater, which is often used because that drinking water.

The best means to defend the high quality of wetlands is for every human in the watershed to stop potential pollutants indigenous being carried by runoff or infiltration.

Other wetland risks

The loss of the values provided by wetlands impacts watershed residents, plants, and also animals. Pour it until it is full in one acre the wetland might not it seems ~ devastating. Yet, the cumulative affect threatens the value of staying wetlands and impacts the entire watershed...residents, plants, animals, water quality and also quantity. Already more than fifty percent the wetlands in the lower 48 states have actually been destroyed. Several of the causes are provided below:

Naturally occurring events—hurricanes, droughts, erosion, drops in groundwater levels—destroyed or severely endangered some wetlands.

Agriculture production farming production is responsible for numerous drained wetlands.

Marinas, housing, roads and also other urban frameworks Marinas, housing, roads and also other urban frameworks were built on to fill wetlands.

Dams and dredging Dams and dredging practically always affect the flow of rivers and lakes, destroying some wetlands and also threatening others.

There are plenty of other threats, yet those listed above room the most common.

Twenty-two states have lost at least 50% the their original wetlands because the 1780s. 7 states—Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa, California and Ohio—have shed over 80%. Since the 1970s says with the many losses space Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Florida, southern Carolina and North Carolina. Wetlands drained for farming purposes have been lessened while breakthrough continues to account because that a bigger percent.

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4. Restoring & controlling Wetlands

Preservation and also protection is the most economical means to "manage" wetlands. The course, this no an alternative for the millions of altered wetland acres. In this areas, reconstruction is regularly the best solution to satisfy a watershed partnership’s goals.

10 great Reasons to reclaim Wetlands:

• Re-establish indigenous vegetation...a sustainable food source for wildlife.• administer breeding grounds for waterfowl.• connect wildlife corridors because that ease the movement and also healthy interactions.• alleviate downstream flooding.• mitigate streambank and also shoreline erosion.• safeguard fish and also shellfish harvests.• restore natural biological diversity.• enhance water quality.• enhance threatened and endangered species.• provide recreational and educational sites.

What is restoration?

"Restoration" is the process of returning the wetland mechanism to an approximation that its pre-disturbed condition.

This does not average returning all transformed wetlands to their unaltered state. The simply way replacing the lost values v newly developed or "restored" wetlands. In various other words, the goal is to regain the value rather than gain back a certain site v a self-sustaining system that requires little human "management."

Considerable advancements have to be made in massive wetland restoration. Yet, restoring wetlands come their initial condition—replicating the facility and varied physical, chemical, and also biological interactions—hasn’t to be well documented.

The reconstruction goal

The major challenge of restoration is the instead of of the structural and also functional elements of a naturally formed wetland. A "restored" wetland have to look naturally formed. The should likewise support values—the array of biological, chemical and also physical processes and interactions—found in the naturally developed wetland.

The intensity of restoration techniques will depend on the level the disturbance come the worths of the original wetland.

Restore water flow. Reclaim water flow. The very first step in the procedure is to reclaim the hydrology (flow the water) to support problems favorable for the return the wetland plant communities. The strategy used is dependent on what caused the early stage disturbance.

Altered flow:

Re-establish flow of a river back into a marsh area. Remove dams or various other structures that cause flooding that a wetland. To fill or dredged:Re-establish initial landscape.

Re-establish plants.

The following step is planting ideal native plants. If the soil has actually been contaminated by toxic chemicals, that will most likely need to be removed. If successful, a diverse and also balanced plant community will create itself. Then wildlife will certainly colonize.

What you have the right to do if you own a wetland

Before clearing, draining or manipulating marsh areas—including areas which you unsure about—contact one of these government agencies. If the marsh area is provided as cropland, call your regional USDA herbal Resources Conservation organization (NRCS) office. In non-cropland areas, check with your U.S. Army Corps of designers district (under U.S. Government in the Yellow Pages).

How to obtain started

Successful restoration of wetlands is possible by implementing considerable conservation plans together with watershed security strategies occurred by a cooperation of public and also private sectors. In addition to NRCS and also the military Corps that Engineers, the U.S. Eco-friendly Protection company and the U.S. Dept. Of internal are additionally involved in protecting and also restoring wetlands. Other agencies that regularly participate include tribal, state, regional, and also local government agencies.

Government and watershed citizens must occupational together to determine just how wetlands fit into their watershed, the values (roles) that wetlands, and how to finest protect and also restore this values. Then each public and private partner requirements to perform their component in making it happen.

Some activities:

Locate wetlands and also study how they connect with the watershed. Lug together people pertained to with wetlands in your watershed. Boost understanding that the systems and also current and future pressures. Promote values of wetlands and also be aware of potential threats. Coordinate wetland protection plans at all levels: local, state, regional, and federal. Develop nest frameworks to increase nesting that Canadian geese, mallards, wood ducks, and other birds. Plant food plots to rise survival the pheasants and also other wildlife. Plant indigenous wildflowers to add color and habitat because that songbirds, mammals, butterflies, and other insects. "Adopt A Wetland." contact 800-832-7828. Help local schools embrace a wetland, keep it and also learn around it.


A lake is an ecosystem, a biological community the interaction among animals, plants and chemical environment in which they live. A body of water is classified as a lake when it comprises the at least ten acre in surface ar area and also greater than six feet deep at some point.

Lakes in the temperate region tend to form layers: the epilimnion, metalimnion and hypolimnion.

Epilimnion: The warmth upper class in a lakeMetalimnion: The middle layer that a thermally stratified lake or reservoir. In this layer there is a quick decrease in temperature with depthHypolimnion: —The lowermost, non-circulating great of cold water

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5. Heat stratification

Lakes go v a seasonal process known as thermal stratification. This procedure occurs as the water shaft separates into layers early out to differences in temperature and density. During late fall and also much that winter after ~ the water has cooled, lake temperature, and also therefore water thickness is reasonably uniform peak to bottom. As spring approaches, the upper water layer (epilimnion) warms and becomes much less dense, eventually ending up being thermally secluded from and also virtually floating on height of the cooler, denser, depth water class (hypolimnion). The layers are separated by a middle transition layer recognize as the metalimnion. As the temperature difference between the water at the peak of the lake and the bottom increases, the density differences increase and also thermal stratification becomes much more pronounced with the summer. The upper and also lower great of water no much longer mix and also the water chemistry becomes various in each layer.

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6. Lakes are also divided right into zones or communitiesLittoral zone: region along shore. This region is home to many of the aquatic plantlife (both rooted and floating) in a pond or lake due to the fact that the high quantity of sunlight reaching it permits for far-reaching photosynethic activity.Limnetic zone: open surface waters furthermore from shore in a lake. The is often characterized as the area whereby the lake bottom is also deep to assistance rooted aquatic plants due to insufficient sunlight. This area is populated by a selection of phytoplankton (algae) and zooplankton (microscopic animals), crustaceans, and fish. Most photosynthesis takes part in this component of the lake.Profundal zone: The area that deep water in ~ the bottom the a lake listed below effective penetration of light.

Physically, chemically and also biologically parameters can be measure up in any body that water come analyze patterns in water high quality analysis, together as, turbidity, total phosphorus, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, conductance, temperature, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll-a, fish, aquatic plants, phytoplankton and zooplankton and also benthic organisms.

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7. An international warming affect on lakes

Global climate readjust will eventually influence area lakes in miscellaneous aspects, although most noticeable changes will be in climatic events, together as an ext evaporation and heavy rain events, which will cause more runoff events, bad water quality and erosion.

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Increase in heavy rain occasions leads to:

Shoreline erosionIntensity that rainfall will certainly produce more pollution and also sedimentation as result of runoff. An ext phosphorus-bound sediments will certainly wash into streams and also lakesFlooding- big volumes the water have the right to transport contaminants into water body and also overload storm and wastewater systems.

Increases in air and also water temperatures:

Increases oxygen-consuming biological activities within the lake ecosystem. Stress and anxiety from an international warming may eliminate coldwater species, open up niches for various other exotics, transform yields, and disrupt classic fisheries. Decreases the saturation concentration of dissolved oxygen (less oxygenated waters). Since higher temperatures reduce dissolved oxygen levels, climate change will effect the survival of aquatic life. Greater temperatures and lower oxygen concentration may contribute to boost the uptake of contaminants, such as, mercury through the food web. (Yediler and Jacobs, 1995).Prolonged summer stratification period Ice sheathe on Minnesota"s lakes will suggest a much shorter ice-on season.Stream operation will top sooner in the spring since of previously snowmelt and also ice breakup. New water flowing into these lakes can decrease with worldwide warming, perhaps reducing lake levels and degrading water quality. Enhanced lake evaporation could have major effects some larger lakes. Much more frequent and intense rainfall may overwhelm miscellaneous pollution control facilities that have been design to reduce sewage overflows and stormwater runoff.Since the metabolic prices of organisms and also the all at once productivity the ecosystems are directly regulated through temperature these lake/ flow ecosystems are an extremely vulnerable to climate readjust because projected increases in temperature are expected to disrupt existing patterns that plant and also animal circulation in aquatic ecosystems.Global warming will also affect varieties composition, abundance and distribution. For example, momentary or ephemeral wetlands may disappear which will greatly influence North American waterfowl breeding areas, food supply and also water. In addition, warm-water fish species, such as, carp will increase, while cold-water species will diminish (trout and also whitefish).Warmer waters room naturally an ext productive, yet the particular types that thrive may be undesirable or even harmful. For example, algae blooms take place in countless lakes during warm, nutrient-rich periods and also may increase in frequency in the future. Big fish predators that require cool water may be lost from smaller lakes as surface ar water temperatures warm, and also this might indirectly cause more blooms the nuisance algae, which can reduce water quality.Species that room isolated in habitats close to thermal tolerance borders or the occupy rare and vulnerable habitats may end up being extinct.

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