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.
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.
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.