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Small Wetlands in the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region
Values Worth Conserving!

The Facts

  • Prairie Pothole Region of the U.S.Prairie pothole wetlands total 5.3 million acres in 2.7 million basins.

  • 2.1 million basins, containing 689, 000 acres, are less than 1 acre in size.

  • Small wetlands catch runoff from snowmelt and rain.  This is not flooding, this is downstream flood prevention.

  • Each acre of small wetland reduces flood damage to roads by $6.11 per year.

  • Each acre of small wetland also provides $29.23 worth of flood damage protection to agricultural land per year.

Wildlife Habitat

a family of redhead ducks wetland map in Sheridan County, ND, showing wetlands less than 1 acre and greater than 1 acre
Small wetlands, less than 1 acre in size, are valuable wildlife habitat. Numerous small wetlands provide more habitat and food for waterfowl than one large wetland of the same total acreage. Loss of these small wetlands would have a significant impact on waterfowl migrating and breeding in the Prairie Pothole Region.

Wetland easements and Partners for Fish and Wildlife agreements protect these important wetlands on private land. Temporary and seasonal wetlands that go dry in spring or early summer recycle nutrients, grow lush vegetation and fill with seasonal rains. They may be cropped by farmers when conditions allow.

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