The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dedicated May as American Wetlands Month!
What are wetlands?
Wetlands are areas of ground that remain saturated with water for the majority of the year. They’re often found around lakes, rivers and other bodies of water. In Ohio, we have four main types of wetlands: freshwater marshes, bogs, swamps and fens.
Why are wetlands so important?
Wetlands play a vital role in our ecosystems by removing excess nutrients, toxic substances and sediment from the water that flows through them, helping to improve downstream water quality and overall health of waters in our communities. They are basically nature’s Brita filter! Wetlands help to reduce flooding – just one acre of wetlands can store from 1 million to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater. They also stabilize shorelines and prevent erosion, and provide critical habitats for plants, fish and wildlife.
What types of plants and wildlife can I find in and around wetlands?
Wetland plants can include duckweed, cattail, sedges and more. Mammals like beavers, muskrats, mink and more hang around wetlands, but birds are the most abundant creatures drawn to these areas! You may see anything from ducks and swans, to raptors and more. If you look closely at the water, you could find turtles, snakes, salamanders or frogs. Salamanders and frogs even use wetlands to lay their eggs.
Fun fact: around 90 threatened or endangered species in Ohio live in or depend on wetlands!
Where can I find wetlands around Franklin County?
Metro Parks has over 3,700 acres of wetlands – they’re the perfect place to see wildlife and enjoy nature! Try out the Honda Wetland Area at Glacier Ridge Metro Park, the Kuhlwein Road Wetlands at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, or any area at Pickerington Ponds Metro Park.