Credit: USFWS Madison Wetland Management District, South Dakota
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS
Wetlands provide a multitude of ecological, economic and social benefits. They provide habitat for fish, wildlife and plants - many of which have a commercial or recreational value - recharge groundwater, reduce flooding, provide clean drinking water, regulate our climate, offer food and fiber, and support cultural and recreational activities. Unfortunately, over half of America’s wetlands have been lost since 1780, and wetland losses continue today. This highlights the urgent need for geospatial information on wetland extent, type, and change.
The National Wetlands Inventory
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is the principal US Federal agency tasked with providing information to the public on the extent and status of our Nation's wetlands. The US FWS National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) is a publically available resource that provides detailed information on the abundance, characteristics, and distribution of US wetlands. NWI data are used by natural resource managers, within the US FWS and throughout the Nation, to promote the understanding, conservation and restoration of wetlands.
The Wetlands Mapper delivers an easy-to-use map-like view of America’s wetland resources. It spatially integrates NWI data with additional natural resource information and political boundaries to produce a robust decision support tool.
Status and Trends
Status and Trends reports provide estimates of US wetland extent, type, and change specific to different time periods, ranging from the 1700’s to 2009. Reports are currently being produced on a decadal basis. The reports educate policy-makers and the public on the status of the Nation's wetlands and potential causes of wetland change.