Nature and Environment

Because at 160,000 years, the party is just getting started.

Wetland Water Sources

8/21/2013 11:15:00 AM

Tags: wetlands, floodplain, Earth Gauge, Washington D.C.

wetlands chartWhat makes a piece of land a wet-land? It may seem like an easy question when the word is broken down, but when we look closer, we find that not all wetlands are wet for the same reason.  Hydrology (water characteristics) is the defining feature of a wetland, and the soil and plants in wetlands are shaped by the presence of water. The amount, flow, composition and source of water helps determine the soil type and vegetation found there. Contrary to their name, wetlands may not be wet all of the time. To help identify wetlands, let’s look at one of the largest factors of wetland hydrology—water source.

• Floodplain forests, lake and riverside marshes, tidal marshes and mangrove swamps receive water from surface flow. This means that there is active cycling of water and nutrients from visible water sources like a lake, river, or the ocean.

• Fens and seeps receive water from groundwater sources. This means that the water table and soil surface reach the same height. These wetlands can be fed by an underground water source and often contain high concentrations of nutrients that stimulate plant growth.

• Bogs, cypress domes and vernal pools receive most of their water from precipitation.  This means that these wetlands are replenished by rainfall and snowmelt and have limited to no connection with other water sources.

Viewer Tip: Wetlands can be found all over the country and on every continent except Antarctica. Do you know of any wetlands in your area? See if you can tell what kind of water source your local wetland depends on. How might this determine the types of plants found there? Learn more about the different types of wetlands found in the United States.

Learn more about the many benefits wetlands provide in the Wetlands Work for Us infographic above.

Infographic also available in Spanish.Earth Gauge logo

(Sources: Vance, Linda K. 2009. Geographically Isolated Wetlands and Intermittent/Ephemeral Streams in Montana: Extent, Distribution, and Function. Report to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana 33 pp. EPA, “Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands,” http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/wetlands_chapter1-2.pdf)

 



Related Content

Weatherize Your Home, Collect Stimulus Money

Weatherizing your home saves you money. Just a few simple changes can greatly reduce the amount of e...

Earth Gauge Tip of the Week — Frogs and Vernal Ponds

Tips on how to protect local wildlife and water bodies during the spring thaw.

Earth Gauge Tip of the Week: Smart About Salt

Tips on how to be smart about salt this winter and protect water quality.

Earth Gauge Tip of the Week — American Wetlands Month

May is American Wetlands Month. Find out the many environmental benefits of wetlands and find out ho...

Content Tools
RSS




Post a comment below.

 

MY COMMUNITY









Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.