Report: Net increase in U.S. wetlands

March 31, 2006

Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said for the first time since 1954, there is a net increase in U.S. wetlands.

The Fish and Wildlife Service report, released Thursday, said wetlands acreage, measured largely by aerial surveys, totaled 107 million acres at the end of 2004, up by 191,800 acres from 1998, The New York Times reported Friday.

"I'm pleased to complete my term as secretary of interior by announcing some good news, said Norton, who stepped down from her job Friday.

Although some 523,500 acres of swamps and tidal marshes had been lost, the government measured gains of 715,300 acres of shallow-water wetlands or ponds.

However, critics of the report say the increase in wetlands has also included ornamental ponds in new developments and mine reclamation ponds.

Wetlands are ecologically important areas because they prevent flooding, filter and purify surface water and provide habitat for wildlife.

"The country is losing diversity and the administration tells us it's OK because we've increased the number of ponds," said Julie Sibbing of the National Wildlife Federation.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Proposed floodplain restoration reduces flood risk and restores salmon habitat

Related Stories

New digs for the spadefoot toad

November 18, 2014

A plump Eastern spadefoot toad sits placidly in a patch of meadow on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Nearby, researchers Rachel Jania and Bryan Windmiller are house hunting for it, trying to figure out if the meadow might make a ...

SREL, DOE bring wood stork back from brink of extinction

August 4, 2014

Thanks to the hard work of conservationists across the United States, the once imperiled American wood stork has been down-listed from endangered to threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Among the many organizations ...

Recommended for you

New Horizons data hint at underground ocean

July 30, 2015

Pluto wears its heart on its sleeve, and that has scientists gleaning intriguing new facts about its geology and climate. Recent data from NASA's New Horizons probe—which passed within 7,800 miles of the surface on July ...

The sound of music, according to physicists

July 30, 2015

Joshua Bodon is sick of hearing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." More specifically, he's sick of hearing one 25-second clip of the song repeated more than 550 times.

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Unusual red arcs spotted on icy Saturn moon Tethys

July 30, 2015

Like graffiti sprayed by an unknown artist, unexplained arc-shaped, reddish streaks are visible on the surface of Saturn's icy moon Tethys in new, enhanced-color images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.