Wetlands can have significant impacts on the quality, composition, and
ground cover of certain terrestrial areas. In several ways, wetlands help
reduce the effects of erosion on upland areas. The relative stability
of the substrate plays a large role in the composition of upland ecologies.
of their sponge-like qualities, wetlands located at the head of the watershed
act as reservoirs, capturing precipitation and releasing it more gradually.
This slows runoff rates and decreases sheet erosion on exposed soils.
Wetlands located at the base of a drainage area can capture soil that
has eroded off the land. This prevents the soil from entering the main
streams of the watershed. Reducing the amount of soil eroded from the
land and recovering soil that is eroded benefits the landowner and reduces
siltation problems further downstream (Admiraal et al. 1997, Illinois
Department of Natural Resources 1997, and Mitsch and Gosselink 1986).
located along the banks of lakes and rivers help to buffer waves,
protecting shorelines and the upland areas behind them. Vegetation
in these wetlands dissipates the energy of waves by acting as
a barrier between the source of the wave and the shoreline. The
root systems of these plants also play a major role in helping
retain soils along the banks. Shorelines protected by these buffering
wetlands tend to erode less and remain stable (Admiraal et al.
1997, Illinois Department of Natural Resources 1997, and Mitsch
and Gosselink 1986).
Introduction | Biological
| Threatened & Endangered Species |
Hydrological Functions | Water
Quality | Ground Water Recharge | Terrestrial
Functions | Aesthetics & Recreation
to Wetlands Home Page