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What is a Wetland?

Have you ever heard of a wetland before?

Living in Wyoming, which is the fifth driest state in the country, it may not be surprising to hear that wetlands only make up about 2% of the state’s land. What might surprise you, then, is that about 90% of wildlife species in Wyoming use wetland habitats daily or seasonally throughout their lives, and about 70% of Wyoming bird species cannot survive without wetland habitat. So we know that wetlands are important to wildlife, but what exactly is a wetland? A wetland habitat is an area where the land is sometimes or always covered by shallow water. Because of this, wetlands can support animals that live in water, those that live on land, and especially ones that like both, like frogs. Not only do wetlands provide lots of food for animals in the form of plants, insects, fish, and smaller animals, but they also do lots of other things. These include filtering out pollution from the water and helping to keep the land stable because all the roots that wetland plants have hold soil together. Wetland areas also act like sponges to soak up water during a flood and release it slowly throughout the rest of the year. Finally, people use wetlands for outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, and nature photography. Because wetlands make up such a small part of Wyoming’s landscape but they do so many great things for nature and people, it is very important to be sure that our wetlands stay healthy now and in the future. If you would like to learn more about wetlands, be sure to check out our wetlands website.  

- WGFD -

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