Restorable Wetlands Inventory
Depressional wetlands were a dominant feature of the landscape of the prairies of Minnesota and Iowa at the time the area was first occupied by humans of European decent. However, the lure of fertile soils and a strong northern European work ethic converged in an unprecedented effort to drain the wet prairie and its associated wetlands. Today, in many watersheds, fewer than 10% of the original wetlands still exist. Although not all of the consequences of this intensive wetland drainage are understood, they are thought to include water quality degradation and increased flood frequency and intensity along mainstem rivers and major tributaries. Today, wetland restoration is increasingly favored as a means of providing multiple natural resource and socioeconomic benefits including flood abatement, water quality enhancement, and wildlife habitat restoration. These multiple benefits are most likely to accrue when restorations are conducted in the context of an integrated strategic restoration plan. An essential precursor to such a plan is spatial information about the distribution and extent of restorable wetlands.
Restorable Wetlands Maps are available for Minnesota by county through the Ducks Unlimited Meta Data.