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Protecting and Enhancing the Nation’s Wetlands

Nifa Author
Margaret Lawrence, Writer-Editor

Wetlands are some of the world’s most productive habitats in the world, boasting a rich diversity of plant, insects and animal species.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 110 million acres of wetland stretched across the country in 2009. On World Wetlands Day, we are showcasing partners conducting vital wetlands research and outreach with support from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
 

Safeguarding Coastal Wetlands for Future Generations

 
Protecting and restoring coastal wetlands is a continuing challenge. Outreach efforts by the Louisiana State University AgCenter are ensuring that young people understand and value the state’s wetlands through its Louisiana Marsh Maneuvers, supported by Smith-Lever capacity funding. During week-long summer sessions, high school students find themselves immersed in the state’s coastal ecology. Marsh Maneuvers instills in participants a sense of stewardship that they can take home and carry into adulthood. Follow-up surveys with Marsh Maneuvers participants show that more than 93% follow current events related to wetlands, have applied what they learned at Marsh Maneuvers to their schoolwork, and are more motivated to explore a career related to conservation. Learn more.
 

Restoring Fresh Water Lakes

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff researchers are working to reestablish native aquatic plants in DeGray Lake and promote healthy populations of recreationally important fish species, which once thrived in the lake. With the support of Evans-Allen capacity funding, scientists used floating vegetation cages attached to buoys to disperse native aquatic plants throughout the lake and deployed submersible drones and boat-mounted sonar to assess plant reestablishment. The increase in submerged aquatic plants will increase the number of microbes, baitfish, crawfish, and snails in the lake. In turn, this will increase populations of fish species such as black bass, which are prized by anglers. Learn more.
 

Protecting the Great Lakes

Purdue Extension recognized that communities needed to understand science-based environmental limits or tipping points to develop effective land use policies and restoration plans. Purdue Extension created Tipping Point Planner, a web-based tool, and then guided community participants in using it to evaluate ecosystem services and develop action plans to direct conservation and management of resources. This training effort, supported by Smith-Lever capacity funding, empowers communities to improve the health of watersheds and achieve ecosystem sustainability in Indiana and across the Great Lake States.  Learn more.

 

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