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Upper Susquehanna Coalition A Synopsis of Wetland Values and Functions 2011

Why Wetlands?

Wetland Functions

 Capture

runoff to desynchronize flood peaks resulting in less flooding

 Decrease

stream flows to reduce energy of flowing water - less erosion

 Remove

sediment and impurities from surface water - improving water quality

 Provide

wildlife habitat – add diversity and more recreational opportunities

Wetland Functions

Flood Attenuation Over the past 30 years flooding has cost the US an average of $ 7.82 billion/yr. with 94 deaths averaged per year1


- 2012

The 10% Solution Wetland Functions The effects of wetlands on flood flows 1.00












Novitski, R.P: Hydrologic characteristics of Wisconsin's wetlands and their influence on floods, stream flow, and sediment. American Water Resources Association, 1978.


Wetland Functions Wetland buffering barn runoff from Unadilla River- this small wetland basically eliminated the nutrient runoff into the river

Nearly half of all endangered and threatened species in the United States depend on wetlands for some portion of their life-cycle.

Even small shallow wetlands are important

Wetlands don’t need to be very wet to function

Wetland Impacts

Potential Wetland Impacts ď‚› Dredging, ď‚› Dumping

filling, and draining

Wetland Impacts Filling wetlands reduces water holding capacity of the watershed when it rains

Wetland Strategies

Potential Wetland Protection Strategies On the scale of least to most involvement:  Watershed stewardship  

Wetland education Promote wetland creation and restoration (with efforts to avoid existing wetlands)

 Land conservation/ protection  Land Trust Easements  Easements by the town  Wetland stewardship program in which landowners register existing wetlands and agree to protect those wetlands from impacts with possible compensation being tax breaks  Wetland

consideration in site design and review of permit applications  

Consideration during stormwater permits as well as Subdivision planning, mobile home, and timber harvesting Have wetland boundaries delineated on all maps for applications

 Wetland


Wetlands can be constructed or restored to add more capacity to a watershed

By building a low berm (at left of the wetland) a nice pool was formed that adds flood capacity, wildlife values, water quality improvements and visual aesthetics

Wetlands perched higher in the watershed are “out of the way� and provide exceptional value for capturing rainfall before it enters streams

Other Related Issues A comprehensive approach to watershed functions is always the best approach. The following slides provide some examples

Erosion Major rainfall events can cause severe erosion due to the combination of topography and poor planning

Road Ditch in Meads Creek Watershed after a 5 inch rainfall

An example of poor road maintenance that will lead to more erosion



Erosion Prevention

One way to stabilize road ditch is hydroseeding over a fabric barrier


Streambank Erosion –An ongoing issue: contact USC for copies of the stream guide

Flooding Flooding in the Catatonk Watershed, 1996

How to reduce the effects of too much rain

• •

Spread it out Slow it down Soak it in

Water Quality

“Cows in the creek� Add nutrients and destabilize stream banks

Water Quality Logging, if done improperly can affect streams and add to water runoff. This is a poorly placed culvert in a logging road

Outreach and education are important to aid in understanding the importance of wetlands

Additional Resources US Fish and Wildlife Partners for Wildlife: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Program: wrp Upper Susquehanna Coalition Wetland Program:

Profile for Melissa Yearick

A Synopsis of Wetland Values and Functions  

Overview of wetlands values and impacts to wetlands

A Synopsis of Wetland Values and Functions  

Overview of wetlands values and impacts to wetlands