Role of Wetlands
Wetlands function as natural filters. They trap and slowly release stormwater, including rain, snow melt, and flood waters. While doing so, they store and filter out many pollutants, especially phosphorus. Wetlands also provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, and they support healthy fish populations.
There are many considerations when developing near a wetland. One of the best ways to protect an existing wetland is to utilize a buffer.
Protect Wetlands and Ponds with Buffers
Leave a natural (or at least an unfertilized) buffer of 15 to 25 feet along streams and wetlands. This will reduce and filter runoff, deter geese, and keep chemical use away from the water. Many new developments have designated buffer areas around wetlands and watercourses – look for signs marking the buffer boundary and refrain from mowing, fertilizing, or dumping (lawn clippings, pet waste, etc.) in the buffer.
You may also be eligible for the District’s filter strip and wetland protection program. Many watershed residents can receive incentive payments for establishing filter strips along ditches and streams. The District is also looking for opportunities to restore degraded wetlands and enhancing existing ones, and also to purchase easements over wetland areas.