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World wetlands day-- why you should care

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World Wetlands Day and Why You Should Care About It

by Samantha Page

CEC Newsletter Editor 


World Wetlands Day, observed on February 2nd every year, is an occasion to raise awareness about the significance of wetlands worldwide. In Texas, a state known for its diverse ecosystems, wetlands play a pivotal role in maintaining ecological balance, supporting biodiversity, and providing essential ecosystem services. What is a wetland? Most people probably don't find themselves thinking about them often. Wetlands are transitional ecosystems where the land is saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently. They are characterized by a variety of water-tolerant plants and are found in diverse landscapes, including marshes, swamps, bogs, and estuaries. 


Why should we care about wetlands? Wetlands play vital roles in the environment, serving as natural filters for water, habitats for diverse wildlife, buffers against flooding, and sources of recreation and tourism. They are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth and provide numerous ecological services essential for human well-being and the health of the planet.


Furthermore, wetlands in Texas contribute significantly to the state's economy through activities such as fishing, recreation, and tourism. The unique biodiversity found in these habitats attracts nature enthusiasts, photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts, generating revenue for local communities and supporting livelihoods. During hurricane season, wetlands help out by absorbing excess water which helps reduce damage caused by flooding. 


Sadly, wetlands are one of the Earth's most threatened ecosystems. To put that into perspective for you, they disappear faster than forests. Pollution, damming, and clearing for agriculture and construction are among the top reasons these vital ecosystems are vanishing. 


World Wetlands Day was established to raise awareness about conservations. If you are wondering how you can learn more about our precious wetlands and how to help protect them, volunteer your time at organizations like Galveston Bay Foundation, Artist Boat and Houston Audubon. In Texas, where wetlands are abundant and diverse, it is essential to recognize the significance of these habitats and take action to conserve and protect them.

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