Wetlands Policy Proposal Introduction Every year our nations wetlands have an estimated loss of 117,000 acres. This means every five minutes an area the size of a football field is lost. What people do not understand is that we need wetlands for many beneficial reasons. Most people do not even know what wetlands consist of. There are four major types of wetlands which are: isolated wetlands, bogs of the Northeast, bottomland hardwood forest wetlands, and playa lakes. Isolated wetlands consist of small, seasonal ponds filled with water for only a few weeks a year. They are not connected by surface water to river, lakes, or streams. The bogs of the Northeast provide homes for unusual carnivorous plants and other wildlife. The bottom land hardwood forest wetlands help maintain the river’s cycle by providing a natural sink for flooding waters and also filter pollutants. The last type of wetlands is called playa lakes. They are located in the panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma, and are used as habitats by migratory birds and wildlife. Almost half of the fresh water wetlands in the U.S, and over three-quarters of the estuarine wetlands are found in the Southeast. These wetlands represent 47% of the total wetlands of our nation. Between the seventies and eighties 89% of this area were lost, mainly due to agricultural, industrial, and urban expansion. Wetlands are a vital natural resource that provide flood protection and enhance water quality, wildlife habitat, and air quality. The 1997 NRI indicates that an annual average of 54,000 acres of wetlands was lost from 1992-1997 on cropland, pastureland, and land enrolled in the CRP, while an average of 30,000 acres was gained. Nearly two-thirds of the lost wetland acres was due to agricultural production, the rest to non-agricultural activities such as development. The net loss of wetlands has decreased from a level of 27,000 acres lost each year from 19…

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