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"Ian, why are wetlands important habitats in Wyoming?"

Wetlands are extremely important for Wyoming’s wildlife. Ninety percent of wildlife species in Wyoming use wetlands and riparian habitats either everyday or every season, but less than two percent of the surface of the state is classified as wetland habitat. Wetlands are crucial, too, because Wyoming is the fifth driest state, with a statewide average yearly rainfall of only 16.8 inches.  Here are some of the great benefits of wetlands:

  • Habitat areas are important for birthing and raising young and have green forage and cover longer into the summer.
  • Riparian zones along streams provide crucial habitat for migrating wildlife moving through grasslands and deserts.
  • Densities of breeding birds can be up to 10 times greater in riparian tracts compared to nearby, non-riparian habitats.
  • Invertebrates (like insects) are much more common near wetlands and riparian areas and provide food for many species of wildlife.  
  • Wetlands and riparian systems serve many functions in addition to wildlife habitat such as flood attenuation, aquifer recharge and discharge, sediment filtering, contaminant removal and erosion control. In Wyoming wetland and riparian systems are used extensively for outdoor recreation including hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and nature photography.  
Learn more about Wyoming’s wetlands and as winter recedes please plan a trip to enjoy a wetland complex near you.

Ian Tator
Statewide Terrestrial Habitat Manager

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