According to state-sponsored reports, wetlands cover roughly two percent of all land in Washington. This may seem like a miniscule amount, but that “measly” two percent actually covers 938,000 acres of land. Although this may now seem like a vast amount of land, we have actually lost roughly 35 percent of our wetland areas since the 1780s.
Why is our loss of wetlands a problem? It’s because wetlands are a natural defense against a wide variety of disasters. Wetlands are known to help control flooding, minimize the effects of erosion, naturally filter and purify water, and recharging groundwater supplies.
Man vs Nature
Overall, the reason why our wetlands have been growing smaller is because of our need for more land. As populations started to increase, the need to develop land for residential, commercial, and industrial use grew along with it. This led to large swaths of wetlands being redeveloped for our use, a classic “man versus nature” scenario. Naturally, we are now beginning to experience the consequences of destroying our state’s wetlands.
Of course, this isn’t to say that our need for more property isn’t important. What many people don’t realize is that our needs and the needs of the environment do not have to be at odds with each other.
Finding Common Ground
Washington has two state laws to help protect and manage our wetlands: State Water Pollution Control Act and Shoreline Management Act. Both these laws empower the state’s Department of Ecology to regulate our wetlands. In turn, the Department of Ecology provides assistance to local government units that have wetlands within their jurisdiction.
While the Department of Ecology has found success with this model, this isn’t the only thing we can all rely on to protect our wetlands. Private corporations and private property owners can also do their part to conserve our wetlands with the help of environmental and geotechnical services like Hydro2Geotech.
These environmental and geotechnical companies are often well-versed in key areas to help preserve the health of our wetlands. From soil and water sampling to stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPP), an experienced environmental and geotechnical service can help assess the condition of wetlands and come up with a detailed plan of action that businesses, local government units, and private property owners can take to help protect and manage wetlands. Similarly, these companies can also assist with contamination remediation should the need for this service arise.
If you are interested in taking up responsible wetland stewardship in Washington, you may want to get in touch with a local environmental and geotechnical company. This is especially important if you are looking to restore damaged wetlands.