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Wetland with fallen trees.
Native wetland vegetation is re-establishing after the recent restoration of Upper Halstead Meadow, Sequoia National Park.


The National Park Service manages more than 16 million acres of wetlands, including salt and freshwater marshes, swamps, peatlands, mudflats, intertidal zones, and similar aquatic areas. These highly productive and biologically diverse systems enhance water quality, control erosion, maintain stream flows, sequester carbon, and harbor at least 35% of threatened and endangered species. Their aesthetic appeal, diverse recreational opportunities, and important cultural landscape contributions make wetlands an integral part of the park visitor experience.

Unfortunately, wetlands are threatened on a national scale. Less than half of the wetland acreage that existed in the lower 48 states at the time of European settlement remains today. Although many wetlands in the National Park System remain largely unaltered, many others have been damaged by drainage, road-building, agriculture, mining, oil and gas development, and many other activities.

In response to this resource degradation and loss, the NPS has established strong servicewide wetland protection policies and procedures, is acquiring baseline wetland inventory data, and is actively restoring degraded and lost wetlands. The Water Resources Division's Wetlands Program plays important roles in each of these activities.

Wetlands Program Brief

Last Updated: May 06, 2014