In Defense Of Wetlands This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When most people think of wetlands, the image of large swamps come to mind, and they wouldn't be wrong. But wetlands are more than just swamps, much more. For one thing, wetlands act as natural water purification systems, filtering out sediments, excess nutrients, and other pollutants from the water that passes through them. Also, wetlands serve as aquifer recharge areas, places where water can seep into the ground and replenish the groundwater, which is the source of many people's drinking water. Wetlands also support numerous food chains due to the large build up of organic matter caused by their filtering effects. In addition, they serve as spawning areas for numerous species of fish and shellfish, along with flocks of waterfowl, such as ducks and geese. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Scientists estimate that it would cost $100,000 a year to duplicate the natural pollution control and productivity that one acre of tidal wetlands provides. Yet, economically, wetlands equal wastelands and there has been pressure to convert wetlands into so-called "useful" projects, such as agricultural and housing development projects. Already more than half of our nation's wetland areas have been converted into these projects. Even so, President George Bush has proposed legislation to redefine wetlandsin order to turn more of these "wastelands" over to development. Wetlands are more than just swamps. We can't afford to lose the many natural services they provide. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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