May is American Wetlands Month—a time to celebrate one of nature’s most productive ecosystems! 

This year the Service is highlighting the release of our national 2009-2019 Wetlands Status and Trends report, the 6th in a series of congressionally mandated reports spanning nearly 70 years. These reports influence wetland policy and resource management by driving collaboration and cooperative planning between federal, state, and local partners and informing decision-making around natural resource management. 

The report found that net wetland loss increased by 50% over the past decade with vegetated wetlands, like marshes and swamps, being disproportionately impacted. These wetlands are disappearing so quickly that 670,000 acres were lost between 2009 and 2019, an area approximately equal to the land area of Rhode Island. These losses lead to the reduced health, safety, and prosperity of all Americans, as well as the decline of commercially, culturally, and recreationally valuable species. The important scientific information in this report is a call to action and provides an opportunity for the country to work together in response.  

As we celebrate wetlands this May, please join us in learning more about these vital habitats, how they are changing, and how we can work together to better conserve wetlands and their benefits.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works to protect and restore wetlands through a wide range of programs, in this way conserving wetlands and their benefits for future generations. The Service's National Wildlife Refuge System protects high quality wetland habitat within most of its 570 refuges spread across the United States. The Coastal Program promotes cooperative coastal wetland conservation so that wildlife and local communities thrive. The Migratory Birds Program works with partners to protect, restore, and conserve bird populations and their habitats for the benefit of future generations. The National Wetlands Inventory Program provides foundational wetland data necessary for the Service and all Americans to strategically manage our wetland habitats and associated ecosystem benefits.

Wetlands Stories

Follow our stories to learn more about these amazing habitats and the role the Service plays in conserving them.

An aerial view of a water trail on the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released 2009-2019 Wetlands Status and Trends Report. Learn more about the report and its implications.
A large reddish wading bird with a long curved bill prowls a wetland, with tall grasses showing behind it.
Wetlands – areas where water covers the soil – have long had a bad reputation. Presumed to be only a source of flooding and mosquitoes, wetlands have been drained, filled, or otherwise cleared for agriculture or settlement for centuries. Wetlands are, in fact, awesome and vital for our human,...
An island with tall trees in the swamp.
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a natural gem. Yet it’s what’s hidden below the water that’s perhaps its most impressive feature. There, at densities up to 15 feet, lie millennia worth of decayed vegetation, or peat. The peat contains millions of tons of carbon that, otherwise, would...
Two white thistle flowers in the foreground with a faded green forest background.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized regulations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect the Wright’s marsh thistle, a plant from the sunflower family that is endemic to New Mexico. The Wright’s marsh thistle will be protected as a threatened species with an ESA Section 4(d)...
Two piping plover chicks walking on the beach
As azure waves lap at a sandy beach at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Gaby and Goo rest for a minute looking out over the water. They have been coming here every year of their adult lives. But they aren’t summer vacationers admiring Lake Michigan. Gaby and Goo are endangered piping plovers...
Distant view of a river winding through prairie.
The Wetlands Data Layer maintained by the National Wetlands Inventory are classified as described in the Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States, also known as the Cowardin system. The Cowardin Classification System is used by the Federal government to identify and classify different...
Sun rises over wetland with treeline silhouette in the distance.
May is American Wetlands Month, yet every day is a great time to celebrate these diverse habitats. Wetlands support birds, fishes, amphibians, plants, and more. Discover the importance of wetlands to plants, wildlife, and people around the globe.
Sun peeks through orange and pink clouds over calm marsh.
You may not notice wetlands as you pass them, but chances are you’ve seen them, whether driving to the beach, near a forest stream, or even on a farm in the Dakotas. There’s great variation in the places we call wetlands, and they are worth a closer look.
A stream winds through a headwater wetland.
May is American Wetlands Month! But how much do you know about these historically derided resources?
View of freshwater marsh.
Federal partners are working to accelerate improvements to hydrographic data through the Advanced Water Mapping and Analytics Initiative. Learn more about this initiative.