Wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests
On Thursday, Feb. 2, Ducks Unlimited (DU) and conservationists worldwide will celebrate World Wetlands Day (WWD) to recognize the importance of wetland ecosystems for humans and wildlife. This year’s theme is “It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration.”
Part of DU’s mission is to raise public awareness about the benefits wetlands provide as waterfowl habitats and as critical natural water filters. Wetlands provide many services to our communities, including flood storage, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, enhanced fish habitat and much more.
WWD focuses on conservation solutions for these beautiful and critical landscape features that some describe as nature’s kidneys due to their ability to filter and clean water.
WWD commemorates the Feb. 2, 1971 signing of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran. Each year since the first celebration in 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporations and citizens representing all segments of society have taken advantage of the anniversary to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general and the Convention in Ramsar in particular.
According to the Ramsar Convention, wetlands are being lost three times faster than forests. More than 80% of all wetlands have disappeared since the 1700s. Since 1970, at least 35% of the world’s wetlands have been lost.
“Wetlands conservation is what we do,” said DU Chief Conservation Officer Karen Waldrop. “Ducks Unlimited volunteers, members, sponsors and supporters have spent the last 86 years restoring or protecting more than 15.5 million acres of habitat in North America. I’m proud to say that every day is World Wetlands Day at Ducks Unlimited.”
DU, along with the help and support of its staunch volunteers and partners, is conserving prairie potholes and native grasslands in the Great Plains, restoring bottomland hardwood forests in the lower Mississippi River Valley, protecting and enhancing the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and protecting and improving wetland habitats in California’s Central Valley, the coastal prairies of Texas and the coastal marshes of Louisiana, just to name a few.
“Ducks Unlimited remains committed to our conservation mission,” Waldrop said. “Thanks to tireless support from generations of DU members, volunteers and partners, that hard work and commitment was again on full display as DU protected or restored 575,000 acres of habitat in Fiscal Year 2022. But, as always, DU’s conservation work is a never-ending endeavor. Habitat work continues daily across the United States, Canada and Mexico.”
For more information about World Wetlands Day, visit https://www.worldwetlandsday.org/.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world‘s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
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