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Wetland Watch

Why Are Wetlands Important?

Wetlands are a very important feature in our landscape. We now know that wetlands are vital to the survival of our coastline, habitat for wildlife and an integral part of the filtering system for our waters.

Being on the Gulf Coast, we see how wetlands act as small dentention basins for the excess rainfall runoff. This process helps slow erosion and decrease flooding downstream.

Wetlands are biologically productive and diverse in the species they support. This ecosystem has far reaching effects of transforming food sources in the plant life to support water fowl, fish and other wildlife.

The Galveston Bay watershed encompasses 24,000 square miles of land and nearly half of the population of Texas. It contains an estimated 120,000 acres of wetlands. The Galveston Bay Watershed is losing approximately 1,200 acres of wetlands per year. This equates to about two square miles per year.

This ecosystem also supports the commercial fishing and seafood harvesting along the Gulf Coast. According to Enviornmental Protection Agency, up to one-half of all North American bird species live and nest in wetland habitat.

 "Many writers have called wetlands the kidneys of the earth because they filter and clean the water that flows through them.  They are also the bladders of the earth by virtue of their water storage ability.  For their role in transforming nutrients, wetlands are also the earth's digestive tract, and for their ability to filter toxins, they are the liver as well."  -- Linda Nowlan & Bill Jeffries

Wetlands are regulated under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Please help Galveston Baykeeper ensure the protection of weltand habitat by reporting construction activities in possible wetland areas.

To report a violation of the Clean Water Act please contact Galveston Baykeeper, the Environmental Protection Agency, or the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Google Earth data layers to assist in protecting and recognizing wetlands:

Note:Some of these files are zip files. You must unzip/extract the file before you can load it into Google Earth. For more information regarding zip files click here.

For more information regarding Google Earth or to download Google Earth click here.

1. Lower Galveston Bay Watersheds (Derived from: Houston Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)

2. Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit Database (Derived from: Galveston Bay Foundation's Wetland Permit Review Database)

(For more information regarding this layer please read the Metadata)

3. Floodplains (Source: FEMA)

4. USFWS National Wetland Inventory

5. Houston Galveston Area Council's Eco Logic Database

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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