National assessment helps pinpoint conservation issues
A partially frozen wetlands pond along lower Peru Creek, near Keystone, Colorado. @bberwyn photo.
The health of American wetlands — at least what’s left of them — in the U.S. is a 50-50 proposition, according to the EPA, which this week released a first-ever national assessment of wetlands conditions, part of a national aquatic resource survey.
Wetlands, once maligned as no-good swamps, are critical for ecosystem health, water quality and flood attenuation, but development and agriculture have chipped away at the waterlogged areas for decades, leaving many degraded.
Overall, the EPA said 48 percent of the nation’s wetlands are in good health. Twenty percent are in fair health, and nearly a third — 32 percent — are in poor health.
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