Disappearing Wetlands of the United Term Paper

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The study revealed that pollution in the are run off water was measurably reduced after running through the ecosystem. Ron Turco, a soil microbiologist and senior researcher of the project had this to say, "Golf courses are a perfect place for constructed wetlands used as part of a water management system, because wetlands can filter chemicals out of surface water, and they can also store excess water during storms," ("Cleaning Water and Controlling Flooding with Wetlands" 53) So there may be some hope on the back nine for some wetlands after all. But all kidding aside, this is the type of project, smaller and more immediate, that needs to be funded along with the philosophy of co-habitation of wetlands and human beings kept in mind. This kind of thinking helps to counter the "manifest destiny" concept that the American culture has in regarding land and their possession of it. It is this arrogance than American's can conquer and subdue any environment that has put many flood victims into their situations.

There are a number of difficulties that wetlands face, most certainly on more local levels as well. Some of the most difficult and stringent protections for people and their own habitats. The legislation refereed to as PPRA, or the Private Property Rights Act, has hampered many local environmental groups from being able to work on the state level. This act requires that all alternative means are exhausted before the private property of any individual is seized by the state, and for wetlands the figures are dire:

The number of wetland acres in states subject to any kind of PPRA is approximately 60 million acres. These represent 21% of the total wetland acres in the United States (52% excluding Alaska). The number of acres subject to generally applicable PPRAs is approximately 40 million acres. These represent approximately 14% of wetlands in the United States (34% excluding Alaska). (Hecht)

The PPRA's were enacted in order to correct a trend that local state agencies were using to give land to large corporations for use. The great number of wetlands that are in Alaska tend to skew the percentage figures presented, which is why the author shows both data with and without.

Even other legislation enacted for environmental protection often leads to capricious and disastrous results for wetlands in general as in this scenario:

The court ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acted reasonably in granting a dredge and fill permit to the developer, pointing out that any of the alternatives to development would probably cause greater environmental harm. Conditions for issuing such permits are set out in section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver decided the case, Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. Flowers, in March. (Lawlor 38)

Later in the same article and interesting side note concerning some other less fortunate species was also included, "The project's predicted adverse impact on three nesting pairs of bald eagles was largely unavoidable and would be the result of increased human activity in the area, not the issuance of the section 404 permit, the court said." (Lawlor 38)

Some local communities have also created wetlands bylaws which they enforce at the neighborhood level. So far evidence suggests that wetlands bylaw communities seem to do better than communities with no such structures in place. But although there may be interesting quantitative results the oversight of these committees is limited and input from environmental sources weak so that the qualitative measure may not live up to expectations and may in later analysis not prove to be as "environmentally significant." (Meyer, and Konisky 482)

Unfortunately most research is of the opinion the wetlands will continue to diminish year after year due to the constant encroachment by humans and the almost habitual ignorance of the problem by most government and corporate entities.

The prospects for restoring wetlands in the future are dim because their functions (and the services they offer) are complex and interconnected. Further degradation is a likely scenario, according to the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, which estimates a minimum loss of 40% to 50% of coastal wetlands by 2080. (Johnson 6)

However all is hopefully not lost. There is a continuing increase in educational programs about wetlands as well as several preserves and natural environments that are becoming of interest in the national park system as well. The more that we are aware of the importance of wetlands to humans as well as the other species on the planet, the more hope there is that we "don't know what we've got till its gone." (Mitchell)

Works Cited

Blumenauer, Earl. "Water Vision 2001." Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy 16.1 (2001): 82.

Cleaning Water and Controlling Flooding with Wetlands." Journal of Environmental Health 68.1 (2005): 53.

Gale, Thomas. "Wetlands." Gale Encyclopedia of Science. 2001:

Grant, Dave. "Disappearing Wetlands." Underwater Naturalist 26.4 (April 2004): p11

Hecht, Andrew. "Obstacles to the Devolution of Environmental Protection: States' Self-Imposed Limitations on Rulemaking." Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 15.1 (2004): 105-108

Johnson, Dan. "Wetlands: Going, Goings. Gone?." The Futurist Sept. 2001: 6.

Lawlor, James. "Filling Wetlands Ruled Better Than Alternatives." Planning June 2004: 38.

Lewis, William M. Wetlands Explained: Wetland Science, Policy, and Politics in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Meyer, Stephen M., and David M. Konisky. "Local Institutions and Environmental Outcomes: Evidence from Wetlands Protection in Massachusetts." Policy Studies Journal 35.3 (2007): 481-489

Mitchell, Joni. "Big Yellow Taxi" Lyricsfreak.com 19 Apr. 2008 http://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/joni+mitchell/big+yellow+taxi_20075370.html

Prince, Hugh. "Wetlands Drainage, River Modification and Sectoral Conflict in the…[continue]

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