[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

WETLANDS HELP CONTROL FLOODING (fwd)




From: RICH_GREENWOOD@mail.fws.gov


For release May 9, 1997                   Larry Dean 202-208-5634
                                        Martha Naley 703-358-2201

                  WETLANDS HELP CONTROL FLOODING

Record-setting floods occurring and expected around the country
would likely be worse if not for nature's safety net of wetlands.

In places such as the Midwest, experts warn that this year's
spring flooding could reach 500-year record levels.  But wetlands
serve as nature's sponge to absorb, then slowly release, spring
runoff, softening the blow of devastating floods.

Acting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director John Rogers said,
"Water held in undrained wetlands won't be flooding roads, farms,
and homes across the country."  Although millions of acres of
wetlands nationwide have been lost to urbanization and
agricultural conversion, partnerships among the Service, states,
other Federal agencies, conservation groups, and private
landowners are making progress toward reversing that trend.

These partnerships are critical to the success of wetland
restoration.  More than 74 percent of wetlands in the lower 48
states are on lands controlled by private landowners, both
individual and corporate.  

Through the Service's wetland easement and agreement program,
landowners have voluntarily protected 3,595,440 acres, a
significant contribution to flood prevention.  Research conducted
by the Service and the North Dakota Water Commission in 1983
found that wetlands can store up to 1.74 feet of run-off water
per acre.  Storage in wetlands or private lands protected in
cooperation with the Service could amount to more than 6.3
million acre-feet nationally, enough to supply the water needs of
more than 25 million people for one year.

"As harsh as the floods may be this spring, they could be even
more devastating without the real heroes:  the farmers and
landowners who decided to preserve their wetlands," Rogers said. 
"These people are true stewards of the land and its resources."

Historically, the lower 48 states contained an estimated 221
million acres of wetlands but that number dropped to an estimated
104 million acres in the 1980s.  Ten states (Arkansas,
California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,
Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio) have lost 70 percent or more of
their original wetland acres.  And 22 states have lost 50 percent
or more wetland acres.  Agricultural conversion has accounted for 
87 percent of these wetland losses, while urbanization has
accounted for another 8 percent.

However, wildlife habitat restoration efforts such as the
Service's Partners for Wildlife Program have contributed to
restoration of wetlands, with a total of 360,000 acres of
wetlands, 128,000 acres of prairie, 930 miles of riparian 
habitat, and 90 miles of instream habitat restored as of December
1996.

Wetlands also help maintain high water quality, contribute to
sustaining groundwater supplies, and provide critical habitat for
hundreds of species including more than one-third of our
endangered species.

                              -FWS-



============================================================ 
News releases are also available on the World Wide Web at 
http://www.fws.gov/~r9extaff/pubaff.html  They can be reviewed in
chronological order or searched by keyword.

Questions concerning a particular news release or item of 
information should be directed to the person listed as the 
contact. General comments or observations concerning the 
content of the information should be directed to Craig 
Rieben (craig_rieben@mail.fws.gov) in the Office of Public 
Affairs.

============================================================
To unsubscribe from the fws-news listserver, send e-mail to 
majordomo@www.fws.gov with "unsubscribe fws-news" (and omit 
the "quotes") in the **body** of the message. You should not 
include anything on the Subject: line.  

For additional information about listserver commands, send a 
message to majordomo@www.fws.gov with "info fws-news" (and 
no "quotes") in the body of the message. 




Received: from dataadmin.irm.r9.fws.gov by dhcp.irm.r9.fws.gov (ccMail Link to SMTP R8.00.00)
	; Fri, 09 May 97 16:36:07 -0700
Return-Path: <owner-fws-news@dataadmin.irm.r9.fws.gov>
Received: by dataadmin.irm.r9.fws.gov (SMI-8.6/SMI-SVR4)
	id OAA02063; Fri, 9 May 1997 14:25:44 -0600
Message-Id: <199705092025.OAA02063@dataadmin.irm.r9.fws.gov>
Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 16:13:00 -0600 (MDT) 
From: Mitch Snow <mitch_snow@mail.fws.gov>
To: fws-news@dataadmin.irm.r9.fws.gov
Subject: WETLANDS HELP CONTROL FLOODING
Sender: owner-fws-news@dataadmin.irm.r9.fws.gov
Precedence: bulk
Reply-To: fws-news@dataadmin.irm.r9.fws.gov