Accelerating Wetlands Loss Threatens Clean Water

“Wetland Loss Leads To The Reduced Health, Safety and Prosperity of All Americans.”

As court and legislative decisions slash critical protections for wetlands and clean water, new studies show that wetlands loss is accelerating across America.

A recent report to Congress shows that about 670,000 acres of swamps, salt marshes, and other wetlands were lost in the contiguous 48 states between 2009 and 2019, comprising an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. “Wetland loss leads to the reduced health, safety and prosperity of all Americans,” wrote U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, in the report’s preface. “When wetlands are lost, society loses services such as clean water; slowing of coastal erosion; protection against flooding, drought and fire; resilience to climate change and sea level rise.” The losses also diminish important habitat for fish, wildlife, and plants. 

We Need To Act Now

In her message to members of Congress, Haaland was blunt: “This report delivers the hard truth that we need to act now. I urge you to work with me to accomplish the recommendations in the report. Furthermore, I look forward to working with you to propose and enact stronger laws protecting wetlands, so the next status and trends report tells a positive story.” 

If action is not taken, it is assured that the recent disastrous judicial reinterpretation of the Clean Water Act by the U.S. Supreme Court, compounded by irresponsible state legislative elimination of protections in North Carolina and other states, will send the destruction of wetlands into overdrive. Clean water advocates are leading environmental education efforts across North Carolina to let the public know how severe these threats to wetlands and clean water have become.

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