May is American Wetlands Month, a time when we come together with different agencies to celebrate the vital importance of wetlands and their impact on Earth's ecosystems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) partners with federal, state, local, tribal, and nonprofit organizations to celebrate wetlands and work toward conservation.
Wetlands are unique and vital ecosystems where land meets water. They are characterized by specific soggy soils, water-loving plants, and the presence of water. Wetlands provide many benefits for wildlife, water quality, flood reduction, and groundwater storage.
Wetlands are disappearing at a rate three times faster than forests. Since 1971, more than 35 percent of the world's wetlands have been lost to urban development, pollution, or sea level rise. They act as breeding grounds and nurseries for around 40 percent of the world's species. They are not only vital to wildlife; wetlands also provide around one billion people a living in some way. They also help the environment by filtering out water pollutants. They are considered the kidneys of the Earth.
The fight is on to protect the world's wetlands with some scientists even saying they deserve legal rights. You can read more about American Wetlands Month on the EPA's website. The City of Salem continues to preserve, protect, and maintain wetlands as an integral part of our overall stormwater management plan.