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What Are the Best Tips for Wetland Restoration?

Britt Archer
Britt Archer

Wetland restoration has become more important to the environment as more and more wetlands are lost each year to development and agriculture. Steps for wetland restoration range from large-scale measures, such as regulations passed by local or federal governments, to smaller grassroots movements that can be undertaken by a school or a community. A project to restore wetlands to their original state on private property, however, should not be undertaken without expert advice. Experts recommend engaging the services of a specialist who is experienced and knowledgeable in wetland restoration. Measures can be taken on a smaller scale to promote restoration, including the support of conservation agencies.

Tips for promoting wetland restoration for the average citizen include becoming familiar with local wetlands, followed by learning more about them through conservation groups that are involved in restoration and conservation. In the United States, people can also buy duck stamps, whose sale price goes directly to wetland restoration and protection. These stamps cannot be used for postage, but they can be used as a pass to enter certain wildlife refuges. In each state, schoolchildren can participate in an art contest by drawing water birds for a federal competition, with winners featured on the duck stamps each year.

A wetland.
A wetland.

Wetlands exist in areas all over the world. People who want to help restore wetlands can combine their vacation with volunteer activities in various parts of the world. They can plant mangos in Africa to prevent erosion, or they can protect a floodplain in Estonia. In the United States, an organization called America’s Wetland Conservation Corps recruits volunteers for wetland restoration, who will perform clean-ups, remove invasive species, and plant trees.

Planting mangos in Africa helps to prevent erosion of wetlands.
Planting mangos in Africa helps to prevent erosion of wetlands.

The disappearance of wetlands is bad news for the environment, specifically because of the loss of habitat for aquatic vegetation, some trees and some species of fish. More than 100 bird species are dependent on wetlands, and almost twice as many fish species. Certain mammals as well as reptiles and amphibians also are adversely affected by the change of environment. The cost of lost wetlands isn’t only to the animal and plant kingdoms; humans, too, face more flooding and lesser quality water supplies when wetlands disappear. Some areas still have not put regulations in place to protect these important areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary goals of wetland restoration?

Wetland restoration is critical for the survival of several species of aquatic life, trees, birds and insects.
Wetland restoration is critical for the survival of several species of aquatic life, trees, birds and insects.

Wetland restoration aims to return a degraded or former wetland to a condition as close as possible to its natural state. This involves reestablishing the original hydrology, native vegetation, and soil characteristics. The overarching goal is to recreate a functioning ecosystem that supports biodiversity, improves water quality, and provides habitat for wildlife.

How important is native vegetation in wetland restoration?

Native vegetation is crucial in wetland restoration as it provides habitat for local wildlife and maintains the ecological integrity of the area. Native plants are adapted to the specific conditions of the wetland, making them more likely to thrive and support the complex food webs. They also help to stabilize soils and filter pollutants, enhancing water quality.

What role does hydrology play in restoring a wetland?

Hydrology is the cornerstone of wetland restoration. Wetlands are defined by their unique water regimes, which support specific plant and animal communities. Restoring the natural flow of water, both in terms of quantity and quality, is essential for re-establishing the wetland's ecological functions, such as flood mitigation, sediment trapping, and providing habitat for aquatic species.

Can wetland restoration help in carbon sequestration?

Yes, wetland restoration can significantly contribute to carbon sequestration. Wetlands are among the most effective ecosystems at storing carbon, often referred to as carbon sinks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, wetlands can store five times more carbon than tropical forests over the long term, making them critical in combating climate change.

What are the challenges faced during wetland restoration?

Wetland restoration faces several challenges, including invasive species management, ensuring appropriate water quality, and re-establishing natural hydrology disrupted by human activities. Additionally, climate change poses a threat by altering precipitation patterns and increasing sea levels, which can affect the success of restoration efforts.

How does wetland restoration benefit local communities?

Wetland restoration benefits local communities by providing flood protection, improving water quality, and increasing opportunities for recreation and tourism. Healthy wetlands can also support local fisheries and agriculture by maintaining water cycles and soil fertility. Moreover, they offer educational and research opportunities, enhancing community engagement with natural resources.

Discussion Comments


@KoiwiGal - There have been many successful wetland restoration projects in the world actually. With community help it doesn't have to be that expensive, and often the land that is chosen wouldn't be suitable for much else anyway. If anyone is looking for tips on wetland restoration, I would check out local projects and see if they need help as they will be able to tell you what you can do in your own backyard.


@pastanaga - Unfortunately wetland destruction has been going on for some time, because they are only useful to people once they have been drained and turned into farmland. I think the amount that have been cleared is something like 95% in a lot of places in the world.

And wetland restoration costs aren't small. Once they have been drained they become a completely different habitat and it's almost impossible to put them back the way they were. Restoration isn't what we should focus on so much as conserving what still exists.


I've always thought the problem with wetlands is that they usually don't look that nice. Mangroves for example, aren't the most lovely of trees and most people associate a swamp with something they don't want around their home. So unlike forests or beaches, they don't have people advocating for their restoration based on how pretty they are.

But wetlands are so absolutely crucial to the environment. They are often the only place where fish can breed and host a variety of different animals and plants found nowhere else. They are also where most of the water in the world gets naturally purified, especially after humans pollute it. Even though their value might not seem plain when you look at them, it's becoming more and more plain the more they are destroyed and everyone suffers from it.

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    • A wetland.
      By: Elenathewise
      A wetland.
    • Planting mangos in Africa helps to prevent erosion of wetlands.
      By: volff
      Planting mangos in Africa helps to prevent erosion of wetlands.
    • Wetland restoration is critical for the survival of several species of aquatic life, trees, birds and insects.
      By: cantelow
      Wetland restoration is critical for the survival of several species of aquatic life, trees, birds and insects.