Thursday, October 19, 2006


Do you know what Headwater Wetlands are?
I just read an article in the Natural New England magazine titled "New England Wetlands Well Worth Saving". It told how there are little areas all throughout our watersheds that, added up, provide storage for huge amounts of rain, runoff and snowmelt.
Often we think wetlands are only those areas right around streams and ponds, but according to Robert Varney (who wrote the article and is the New England Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) they are found in some very unlikely places. They are part of the reason that Planning and Zoning Boards want to be sure there are "recharge" areas around construction sites...especially parking areas that might have large amounts of asphalt involved. If asked, they probably won't know those facts exactly, but they are aware of the importance of that "recharge" process. If they are not aware, they should be!
What we need to know is that these little "hidden wetlands" are vitally important to our ecosystem services. They help control sudden flooding, by soaking up excess water. They then help keep our brooks and streams flowing during dry spells as they discharge their accumulated water.
His final paragraph is worth repeating here: "Why not take advantage of the free flood protection afforded by wetlands? Let's protect our remaining wetlands in New England so they may continue to protect us."
I don't have a link to this particular article in the magazine, but Mr. Varney took it from a larger article, titled, "Wetlands Can Help Reduce Flooding" which he had written. I suggest you visit that article and read it in Mr. Varney's words!


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