Midwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America

Duck Stamp photo

2008 Federal Duck Stamp Contest


Ecosystem Conservation

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Teams and Teaming

Conservation in Action


Contact Us

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Ecological Services
1 Federal Drive
Fort Snelling, MN 55118
Phone: (612) 713-5467
E-Mail: Tom_Magnuson@fws.gov

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Great Lakes/Big Rivers Ecosystems | Wetland | Savanna | Tallgrass Prairie | Forest | Karst

Wetland Ecosystems

Wetland ecosystems are among the most productive areas on earth. Nationally, wetlands are important because they provide habitat for about one-third of our Federally listed threatened or endangered plant and animal species, as well as essential nesting, migratory, and wintering areas for more than 50 percent of our Nation's migratory bird species. Over one third of our Nation's biological organisms are found in wetlands, yet wetlands occupy a mere 3 percent of our Nation's land surface. Wetlands provide society a variety of goods and services, including habitat for fish and wildlife of recreational importance; flood water storage, water quality, and sediment control; and vegetation that contributes to the maintenance of the bio-geochemical cycles of nitrogen, carbon, and methane, which are important in the preservation of the earth's atmosphere.

Photo of ducks in a wetland  - Photo credit:  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Of the estimated 64 million acres of wetlands present in the Great Lakes - Big Rivers Region at the time of colonial America, only 23 million acres remain (Dahl 1990). Draining, dredging, filling, leveling, and flooding have reduced wetlands by 50 percent or more in 6 states, and 5 states have lost 80 percent or more of their wetlands. Of the wetlands that do remain in Region 3, only a small percentage remain as they existed 200 years ago, and few support their original complement of plants and animals.

To learn more about wetlands as well as their status and trend, visit us at:

  • This link opens in a new windowStatus and Trends of the Nation's Wetlands (Adobe pdf document, 717 KB)
    This new report by the Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service indicates the rate of wetland loss in the United States has decreased by 80 percent in the past decade. This is the greatest measured overall decline in the rate of wetland loss since records have been compiled by the Federal government.

  • This link opens in a new windowList of Selected Wetland Publications (Adobe pdf document, 91 KB)
    A list of selected reports, articles, and books dealing with a variety of wetland topics. Most of these publications are produced by and available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region and the Service's National Wetlands Inventory Project. Publications are arranged by general topics.

  • This link opens in a new windowLearning on the Wing - Wetlands, the Vital Link
    Wetlands are very important to the well-being of many plants and animals, including people. But what are these areas, and what do they do?

  • This link opens in a new windowClassification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States
    The classification system contained in this report was developed by wetland ecologists, with the assistance of many private individuals and organizations and local, State, and Federal agencies.

Some of the links above lead to documents in the Adobe pdf format. For many browsers, you may use the left mouse button to view the document on line. To download the document to your own computer, use the right mouse button, then choose either "Save Target As" or "Save Link As" from the pop-up menu.

Last updated: September 24, 2012