Did you know today is World Wetlands Day? Though most of us haven’t heard of this day, February 2 marks the celebration of the signing of the UN-sponsored Convention on Wetlands back in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, which created the Ramsar list of globally protected wetlands. Since World Wetlands Day began, government and non-government agencies and citizens alike take February 2 to raise public awareness on the values and benefits our wetlands bring to us. This years theme is “Upstream Downstream: Wetlands connect us all.”
So what are wetlands anyway? They are invaluable ecological assets, providing fish and wildlife habitats, protecting and improving water quality, and helping store floodwaters – they effectively give environments the ability to withstand and rebound from floods, drought, and other disruption. They’re also among the most productive and diverse ecosystems, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. Wetlands play an important role in our ecology since they provide dense nutrients and are ideal habitat for fish, amphibians, insects, birds and mammals. Who knew swamps were so useful? Knowing how our upstream/downstream activities help or harm our wetlands is vital to protecting these ecosystems.
The EPA is taking a big part in this fight to protect our wetlands. To learn more and find out how you can help, visit the EPA website.