This World Wetlands Day, February 2 2022, join Surfrider and organizations across the world in honoring and protecting these amazing ecosystems. Wetlands help keep our waterways clean by naturally filtering out pollutants and sediment. They act as “biodiversity hotspots” by providing habitat for hundreds of animal species. Wetlands also help protect communities from climate change by reducing flood impacts and capturing and storing carbon.
Despite all these benefits, our wetlands are getting destroyed. Since the industrial revolution, 60 acres of wetlands were lost every hour in the United States. Previously intact wetlands get fragmented for oil and gas drilling, infilled to make room for development, and polluted by urban and industrial runoff. In addition to these threats, coastal wetlands are also getting drowned due to the “squeeze” from rising sea levels. Instead of naturally retreating inland as waters rise, hardened structures like seawalls, roads and other developments act as barriers, blocking wetland migration and causing them to drown.
During the Trump Administration, protections for nearly half of the nation's remaining wetlands and millions of miles of streams and rivers were stripped away. Fortunately, a lawsuit filed by six Native tribes (represented by EarthJustice) resulted in the courts vacating this harmful policy late last year. Now the Biden Administration is in the process of reinstating protections from 2015 while agencies develop a new, “long standing” rule. This rule will determine the future of our nation's wetlands, and sadly polluters and developers are fighting to keep protections weak, ignoring the science and threatening clean water for all. The Biden Administration needs to hear from you about your support for protecting these ecosystems.
Help us protect wetlands and all the benefits they provide by reinstating federal protections for wetlands and ephemeral streams. Please consider adding your name to this sign on letter, led by our friends over at Environment America, to tell the Biden Administration that you support rescinding the previous “Dirty Water Rule” and support strengthening protections under the Clean Water Act.