Status and Trends of Wetlands (2009 to 2019) Report and Story Map

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory Program produces decadal Wetlands Status and Trends reports to Congress. These reports describe the extent of wetland and deepwater habitats within the conterminous U.S., as well as change in their area over time. This 2009-2019 Wetlands Status and Trends national report, which covers the years 2009 through 2019, is the sixth in a series of reports going back to 1954. The reports are used by natural resource managers and policy makers to make strategic decisions regarding the future of America's wetlands.

“The impacts of wetland loss, gain, and change on the functions and services provided by wetlands are cumulative over space and time and may be difficult to reverse."

Key Findings

In 2019 there were an estimated 116.4M acres of wetlands accounting for less than 6% of land area within the conterminous U.S. The vast majority of these were freshwater, accounting for 95% of all U.S. wetlands. Most wetlands were vegetated, including 92% of freshwater and 80% of saltwater wetlands. 

  • Wetland loss increased by more than 50% since the previous study. 
  • 221K acres of wetlands were lost, primarily to uplands through drainage and fill. 
  • Wetland loss disproportionately affected vegetated wetlands, resulting in the loss of 670K acres of these wetlands.
  • Salt marsh experienced the largest net percent reduction of any wetland category (2% or -70K acres) while freshwater forested experienced the largest loss by area. (-426K acres) 
  • There was a net gain in non-vegetated wetlands of 488 acres, and a related increase in pond area of over 7%. 
  • Our Nation’s remaining wetlands are being transformed from vegetated wetlands, like salt marsh salt marsh
    Salt marshes are found in tidal areas near the coast, where freshwater mixes with saltwater.

    Learn more about salt marsh
    and swamp, to non-vegetated wetlands, like ponds, mudflats, and sand bars. 

 Report        Factsheet        Q&A's       Storymap       News release

Story Tags