The term 'wetland' captures and extremely diverse collection of habitats, range from small forested vernal pools that are less than one acre to vast coastal marshes that can exceed a thousand acres. Across this spectrum, wetlands provide critical habitat and ecological services for wildlife and people. They provide breeding habitat for amphibians, spawning and nursery habitat for fish, stopover habitat for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, and nesting and foraging habitat for resident birds. In addition, they collect and store stormwater, slowing runoff and reducing flooding. Wetlands also fileter sediment and pollutants, improving the quality of water before it enters our streams, rivers and lakes.
Today, the Great Lakes basin has lost more than 50 percent of its wetlands, and coastal wetlands in some areas have declined by as much as 95 percent. These losses have occurred due to a number of factors, including filling and draining for agriculture and commercial, residential and industrial development. Those wetlands that remain are often degraded through invasive species and hydrological alteration.
Sustain Our Great Lakes is supporting dozens of projects to help restore the acreage and quality of wetlands throughout the basin. With this support, our grantees are controlling invasive species and restoring more natural hydrology, native vegetation and natural connections betwenn wetlands and other waterways.