The importance of Ohio’s wetlands. Wetlands are areas of land that are saturated with water, either seasonally or year-round, such as marshes, swamps, bogs, or fens. Wetlands are critical to Northeast Ohio’s water systems and overall habitat; they serve a wide variety of important functions, including:
- Serving as a home to many fish, plants, and animals, including many that are rare or endangered.
- Acting as “nature’s kidneys” due to their ability to filter out pollution and other impurities from local water sources.
- Acting as barriers for reducing storm water flooding and shoreline erosion.
- Retaining storm water for use during dry spells, thus protecting communities from drought.
- Allowing for recreational and economic activities such as fishing, hunting, and canoeing.
For these reasons and many others, wetlands are legally protected by the federal government under the Clean Water Act and by the state under the Ohio Administrative Code. Because of this, there are many rules in place outlining the ways in which builders can safely work in wetland areas.