Posts Tagged ‘wetlands’

USFWS Report: U.S. Coastal Wetlands Losses

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The United States is losing wetlands in coastal watersheds at a significant rate, according to a new report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The report, Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009, which was also funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tracked wetland loss on the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts, as well as the Great Lakes shorelines.

It concludes that more than 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands are being lost on average each year, up from 60,000 acres lost per year during the previous study.

The Atlantic Coast lost 111,960 acres during the period, mainly freshwater wetlands and freshwater, forested wetland areas. Contributing factors for losses include urban and rural development and some forestry practices, according to the report.

In some coastal watersheds, rising ocean levels are encroaching into wetlands from the seaward side, while development from the landward side takes a further chunk out of the existing wetland area and prevents wetlands from being able to migrate inland. This dual threat squeezes wetlands into an ever smaller and more fragile coastal fringe.

For more information, visit www.fws.gov/wetlands and www.habitat.noaa.gov/coastalwetlandsreport.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Report Shows Loss of Coastal Wetlands in Eastern U.S.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

While the nation as a whole gained freshwater wetlands from 1998 to 2004, a new report by NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service documents a continuing loss of coastal wetlands in the eastern United States.

The new report, Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Eastern United States, shows a loss of 59,000 acres each year in the coastal watersheds of the Great Lakes, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico from 1998 to 2004.

“This report shows the nation’s need to expand the effort to conserve and rebuild valuable coastal wetlands,” said Jim Balsiger, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “Coastal wetlands are nurseries for important commercial and recreational fish and are vital to many threatened and endangered species. They also provide natural protection to coastal communities from the most damaging effects of hurricanes and storm surges.”

One reason wetland loss is concentrated in coastal watersheds is that with large numbers of people living here – more than half of the nation’s population lives in coastal counties in densities five times greater than inland counties – the building of roads, homes and businesses have accelerated wetlands loss, particularly along the Gulf of Mexico. Wetland restoration is also more difficult in coastal areas where land values are high and factors such as storms and large expanses of soft muddy ground hamper restoration efforts.

The report contains a case study from Florida’s St. Vincent Island that illustrates the challenges of restoring coastal wetlands, but also shows the enormous benefits including opening up areas for public recreation as well as habitat for fish, turtles, shorebirds and other wildlife.

“We are concerned by the findings of this report because coastal wetlands provide essential habitat for many migratory bird, fish, and endangered species,” said Rowan Gould, acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The high rate of coastal wetlands losses is even more alarming when we consider the anticipated stresses that climate change will bring to our coasts in the future. We look forward to working with federal and non-federal partners to stop this trend and achieve no net loss of coastal wetlands.”

NOAA and FWS are discussing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other interested groups how to best respond to the alarming loss of coastal wetlands outlined in the new report. “Our coastal wetlands are ecological treasures that help protect shorelines and infrastructure in areas where more than half of Americans live,” said Michael Shapiro, acting assistant administrator for water at EPA. “This report emphasizes the need for action to protect these valuable resources.”

Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Eastern United States, 1998 to 2004 is available online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat. The next national five-year study on wetlands will include the Pacific coast as well as the eastern United States.

source: NOAA press release

2009 Wetland Courses at Environmental Concern’s Wetland Learning Center

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Environmental Concern will hold a series of wetlands classes during 2009. Classes are held at their Wetland Learning Center, located in St. Michaels, Maryland. The facility is home to four constructed wetlands, a nature trail, and a working native plant nursery growing over 120 plant species.

Courses are scheduled to include:

Wetland Freshwater Benthic Macroinvertebrate Identification and Ecology

Wetland Law and Policy

Wetland Delineation

Advanced Plant Identification

Hydric Soils

Introduction Wetland Botany

Grasses Sedges and Rushes

Family-level Freshwater Benthic Macroinvertebrate Identification and Ecology

Complete course descriptions, instructor bios and online registration can be found at www.wetland.org

In 2008, Environmental Concern was selected and certified as a Maryland Green Center by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.









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