Wetlands - Rochester, NY area
Consider how important wetlands are to our local ecology what condition ours are in--including NewsLinks, Resources, and Information for the Rochester, NY area.
wetlands until they get in the way of a development project, they play a unique ecological role. They are like our kidneys, a filtration organ cleansing our environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using more rigorous language, defines wetlands as "those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas." Wetlands | US EPA
Given such a critical role, you’d think we’d be more careful with our wetlands. Au contraire: “In the 1600s, over 220 million acres of wetlands are thought to have existed in the lower 48 states. Since then, extensive losses have occurred, and over half our original wetlands have been drained and converted to other uses. Between the 1950s and 1970s an estimated 58,500 acres of wetlands were lost” (EPA 1995). Also, "For many years, people did not recognize the many diverse benefits and values of wetlands. Consequently, New York has lost almost half of its historic wetlands to such activities as filling and draining. " NYS DEC Freshwater Wetlands Program
Nowadays, perhaps feeling a little guilty (or simply better at tweaking our laws), wetland mitigation or offsets help us get around the legality of destroying those inconvenient soggy lands by allowing us to build another wetland someplace else. That kind of structural relocating makes sense if you’re renovating an old house and want the bathroom on the third floor instead of the first. Trouble is recreating a wetland that took thousands of years to weave itself into the infinite biological matrix called Nature cannot be so easily replicated by a backhoe and a garden hose. Many experts think that constructed wetlands don’t really capture at all the breathtaking complexity that is a wetland. more...
Like all ecologies in our environment, our wetlands are going to be affected by Climate Change. Read some of the studies that connect the dots between Climate Change and Wetlands.
- "There is consensus among the scientific community that global climate change, occurring in part as a result of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities, will lead to significant impacts across the U.S. (Wigley 2004). These may include increasing temperatures, altered rainfall patterns, and sea level rise. The effect of climate change on wildlife and habitats is expected to be variable and species specific, with a predicted general trend of ranges shifting northward and to higher elevations (Shugart et al. 2003). Nonnative species will likely increase (Walther et al. 2002). Within the Great Lakes region, substantial changes are anticipated, and according to a regional report on projected climate change and impacts, by 2025, spring and summer temperatures in the Great Lakes region are likely to be 3 to 4 °F above current averages (Kling et al. 2003). The amount and seasonal distribution of precipitation is expected to be altered as well; precipitation is expected to increase between 10 and 20 percent, with winter and spring rain increasing and summer rain decreasing by up to 50 percent. These changes in precipitation may result in more frequent floods and droughts. Uncertainty about the future effects of climate change requires refuge managers to use adaptive management (e.g., adjusting regulations, shifts in active habitat management, or changing management objectives) to maintain healthy ecosystems in light of unpredictability (Inkley et al. 2004). Refuge managers can plan and respond to changing climate conditions. Options include managing for diverse and extreme weather conditions (e.g., drought and flood); maintaining healthy, connected, genetically diverse wildlife populations; and (where applicable) protecting coastal wetlands to accommodate sea level rise (see Inkley et al. 2004 for more recommendations). " [Page 2-13] Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment May 2012 – US Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Watersheds and Wetlands VISION: Watersheds are protected, maintained and restored to provide climate resilience and to preserve the ecological, social and economic benefits they provide; and the nation’s wetlands are maintained and improved using integrated approaches that recognize their inherent value as well as their role in reducing the impacts of climate change. --from National Water Program 2012 Strategy - EPA
- "WETLANDS Temperature rises will have severe impacts on wetland birds | A third of the165 wetland breeding species in the United States show medium or high vulnerability to climate change." (Page 16, The State of the Birds 2010 Report on Climate Change United States of America more at http://stateofthebirds.org/
- "Reduced wetland areas: Due to urban development, land use change, and channelizing of streams, areas historically occupied by marshes, wetlands, and swamps have diminished over time in the Great Lakes region. In the future, lower lake water levels will cause existing wetlands to be further reduced; at the same time, new habitat that was formerly submerged will be opened up as water levels drop." (Page 17, The State of Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region The field of climate change adaptation is in a period of critical transition. The general concepts of adaptation have been well developed over the past decade. Now, practitioners must move from...[show full description] Document Citation: Gregg, R. M., K. M. Feifel, J. M. Kershner, and J. L. Hitt. 2012. The State of Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region. EcoAdapt, Bainbridge Island, WA. --from EcoAdapt
Join in discussions about wetlands in the Rochester, NY area
- Nature’s Kidneys Though we tend not to consider our wetlands until they get in the way of a development project, they play a unique ecological role. They are like our kidneys, a filtration organ cleansing our environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using more rigorous language, defines wetlands as "those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas." Wetlands | US EPA Given such a critical role, you’d think we’d be more careful with our wetlands. Au contraire: “In the 1600s, over 220 million acres of wetlands are thought to have existed in the lower 48 states. Since then, extensive losses have occurred, and over half our original wetlands have been drained and converted to other uses. Between the 1950s and 1970s an estimated 58,500 acres of wetlands were lost” (EPA 1995). more...
- Manmade planet One of the great assumptions being made by those in power is that when we bump up against environmental problems, our best and brightest will up and fix them. Well, it’s not that easy. Seems like we really haven’t done our homework. Here’s an interesting insight as to how it tends to go when we think we can micromanage a three billion year old biological system that we barely understand. WATCHING ARTIFICIAL WETLANDS "Natural wetlands that are developed are supposed to be replaced by man-made wetlands somewhere else. But a new study is finding that most of those man-made wetlands aren't doing very well." (Oct. 22, 07) Environment Report more...
Wetlands (swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas) are areas
saturated by surface or ground water sufficient to support
distinctive vegetation adapted for life in saturated soil
conditions. Wetlands serve as natural habitat for many species
of plants and animals and absorb the forces of flood and tidal
erosion to prevent loss of upland soil. In New York State, two
main types of wetlands are the focus of protection: tidal
wetlands around Long Island, New York City and up the Hudson
River all the way to Troy Dam; and freshwater wetlands found on
river and lake floodplains across the state. The
New York State
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- "DEC Webpage Added: Watershed Plans: DEC has created a new Watershed Plans webpage that will provide links to each of the 47 known watershed plans that exist in New York. This page includes a map showing the areas of the state that currently have watershed plans."
- Wetlands | US EPA For regulatory purposes under the Clean Water Act, the term wetlands means "those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that undernormal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typicallyadapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally includeswamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas."
- Report to Congress Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009 | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service "This study examined recent trends in wetland extent and habitat type throughout the conterminous United States between 2004 and 2009. Wetland trends were measured by the examination of remotely sensed imagery for 5,042 randomly selected sample plots. This imagery in combination with field verification provided a scientific basis for analysis of the extent of wetlands and changes that had occurred over the four and half year time span in this study. This information provides a quantitative measure of the areal extent of all wetlands, regardless of ownership, in the conterminous United States. Wetlands were defined using biological criteria and standardized nomenclature for the classification of wetland types. Recently acquired remotely sensed imagery was used as the principle means to assess wetland change with a number of geoprocessing and quality control measures implemented to ensure data completeness and accuracy. The spatial sample design involved randomized sampling of geospatial information on 4.0 mi2 (10.4 km2 ) plots. This was a well established, time-tested procedure that provided a practical, scientific approach for measuring wetland area extent (status) and change rates (trends) in the conterminous United States. Statistical estimates provided national status and change information as well as estimates by major wetland type. Field verification was completed for 898 (18 percent) of the sample plots during 2009 to 2010. Field sites were dispersed in portions of 42 States. "
- Wetlands of the Northeast: Results of the National Wetlands Inventory "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) in the mid-1970s to map the nation’s wetlands and deepwater habitats. Since then, the NWI has completed at least one phase of mapping for all northeastern states, except New York where roughly three-quarters of the state has been inventoried. For most areas, NWI maps have been converted to digital geospatial data which facilitates generation of acreage summaries of the NWI findings. State reports have been published for several states (Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland) and acreage summaries published for most other northeastern states. Since these reports were published, NWI data have been updated for many areas. This report summarizes current NWI data (as of September 2090) for each state from Maine through Virginia and the District of Columbia. " April 2010 Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- National Wetlands InventoryWetlands Status and Trends | Data from status and trends provide important long-term trend information about specific changes and places and the overall status of wetlands in the United States. The historical data base that the Service has developed through Status and Trends, provides photographic evidence of land use and wetlands extent dating back to the 1950s. This provides an accurate record to assist in future restoration efforts. US Fish and Wildlife Service
American Wetlands Month | Wetlands | US EPA This May will mark the 19th anniversary of American Wetlands Month, a time when EPA and its partners in federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit, and private sector organizations celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to the Nation's ecological, economic, and social health. It is also a great opportunity to discover and teach others about the important role that wetlands play in our environment and the significant benefits they provide - improved water quality, increased water storage and supply, reduced flood and storm surge risk, and critical habitat for plants, fish, and wildlife.
What you can do to help keep Rochester-area wetlands clean and healthy.
- ADOPT-A-STREAM Water pollution affects us all. Although there are no easy remedies, correcting water pollution depends on a future generation of informed, concerned citizens. Adopt-A-Stream is an interdisciplinary program which gives classroom learning a real-life application, enhances students' problem-solving capabilities, and can provide community recognition of the students efforts. --Delta Laboratories, Inc., 1820 East Ave, Rochester , NY 14610, (716) 242-2400
- Join the Rochester Sierra club wetland committee Wetlands Committee Our purpose is to advocate for the preservation of local wetlands threatened by human development while educating committee members with respect to wetlands--how to identify them, how they function, what are their values to plant and animals, including humans. --Rochester Regional Group Sierra Club | Sierra Club
- Welcome to the New York State Wetlands Forum, Inc.! The New York State Wetlands Forum, Inc. is a non-advocacy organization comprised of individuals and groups with diverse backgrounds, interests and viewpoints regarding wetlands and their science, use, and management. Incorporated in 1994, the Forum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
- 10/06/2011: EPA Launches New Website to Protect Wetlands; Urges Public to Report Any Violations of the Law (New York, N.Y.) From helping control floods to serving as natural buffers against water pollution to providing recreational opportunities and habitat for fish and wildlife, wetlands offer benefits almost too numerous to count. Members of the public can help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency protect these vital areas by reporting suspected violations of the federal laws that protect wetlands in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the areas that comprise EPA Region 2. Violations can now be easily reported on EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/region02/water/wetlands/violations.html. (October 10, 2011) U.S. EPA Newsroom - News Releases
What is World Wetlands Day? 2 February each year is World Wetlands Day. It marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
WWD was celebrated for the first time in 1997 and made an encouraging beginning.
Each year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Ramsar Convention in particular --Ramsar Convention - World Wetlands Day