What are Wetlands?

Wetlands are the transition area between surface water and land. They are categorized by the presence of hydrology, types of soil and types of plants specifically adapted to thriving in wet environments. One component of identifying an area as a wetland is presence of water on the grounds surface, or just below the surface, for at least a portion of a growing season. Although, due to seasonal fluctuations in hydrology (known as hydroperiods), ecologists often use types of soil and plants as the main components when identifying a wetland. This is because soil types and plant species found on site, are less likely to fluctuate. Soils found in wetlands are referred to as hydric soils. Hydric soils exist when an area is saturated or flooded for an extended amount of time, limiting the presence of oxygen. Wetland plants are unique, in that, most have adapted to live in extremely wet habitats. Common characteristics of wetland plants are: adventitious and shallow roots, floating leaves, pneumatophores, inflated stems and roots, hypertrophied lenticels on the plant stem and prolonged seed viability.

Nutrient cycling, improvement of water quality, flood protection and wildlife habitat are just a few of the benefits of wetlands. Plants in wetlands remove and retain excess nutrients and some pollutants from the water. More than one-third of the United States' threatened and endangered species live only in wetlands. In addition, wetlands have recreational, scientific, and cultural value. They provide places to bird watch, fish, boat, and photograph wildlife.

Wetlands are the one of the worlds most valuable natural resources. Below is a link to a map of surface waters and wetlands found in the City of Parkland.

City of Parkland Surface Water and Wetland Map

Additional Information about wetlands can be found at the following links:

EPA Wetland Fact Sheets

Broward County - Learn About Wetlands