Impacts Humans have on Inland Wetlands

Many factors contribute to the loss of wetlands each year and one of these factors is related to human beings. Some major human impacts include drainage systems, stream channelization and dredging, diking and damming, tilling to produce crops, levees, logging, mining, construction, run-off, releasing toxic chemicals, air pollution and water pollution, domestic animal grazing and the list goes on. All of these factors harm the wetlands and destroy natural habitats for birds and wildlife.

Natural impacts cause loss of wetlands, but it is the humans factors that cause more loss everyday. Natural factors include erosion, hurricanes, droughts, rising sea levels and more. It is Florida and Louisiana that have the most acreage of wetlands in the southern coastal region of the United States. States that are located along the Gulf of Mexico have the highest loss rates in the whole country. Rising human populations in these area have contributed to the loss of wetlands too. In the past 30 years, there have been many serious efforts made by the government to protect them.

In some areas, the marsh system is sinking. The major cause of wetland loss is human development. That includes all areas like bottom-land hardwood swamps, bald cypress swamps, and all forests that are located in the coastal plain regions. Wetland alterations and destruction cause serious impacts on the functions of the wetlands and this means they are degraded. When this happens, these wetlands are no longer useful to humans or animals. It is really a sad situation, because wetlands are truly a beautiful part of nature. In Louisiana, they are part of the tourism industry which brigs visitors from near and far to explore their natural beauty. Loss of wetlands can hurt the economy too.

Many efforts are being made today to protect the wetlands. These efforts are made by the government, private and public organizations of people that want to save the wetlands from being harmed. After-all, the wetlands are a big part of America’s natural resources. A certain percentage of wetlands are privately owned. That means the owners are very serious about protecting their national and historical treasure.

The wetlands have a very long history. In Louisiana, they have been home to the once endangered, official Louisiana state bird called the “Brown Pelican.” This bird is no longer on the list of endangered species, but it was put on the list of endangered species in the 70s because of pesticides and chemicals that were causing habitat destruction along the coasts. It was not long ago that it was taken off the list.