Last week, the PWA crew had our first adventure in wetlands along the Chadakoin river. When I first entered the mucky area, I thought it was nothing special. When looking at it from the outside, they just look like overgrown, muddy forests. However, wetlands are truly a hidden wonder in our community.
Wetlands contain many plants and animals, some of which are only or mostly found in wetlands. You can find skunk cabbage, silver maple trees, arrow leaf plants, and many types of ferns. All of these plants contribute to the stability of wetlands. You can also see many kinds woodpeckers and birds making nests in the trees. These wetlands provide important homes to wildlife as well as food for other species.
Another important fact about wetlands is the soil. This special saturated soil, known as hydric soil, has many minerals and benefits. As the plants in the wetlands die, they fall into the soil and decompose very slowly, causing the soil to take on a dark, rich color. The soil is very thick, and provides a great environment for growth. Because of the special quality of the soil, wetlands also provide flood and drought control. The soil acts as a sponge that traps and releases water. This helps to prevent erosion and helps to control water heights.
Wetlands are truly special places in our community, with important properties to help our river and environment. While they may seem like muddy, gross areas, the species in and around wetlands provide significant benefits to our environment.