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Wetlands
Wetlands are part of the foundation of our nation's water resources and are vital to the health of waterways and communities that are downstream. Wetlands feed downstream waters, trap floodwaters, recharge groundwater supplies, remove pollution, and provide fish and wildlife habitat. Wetlands are also economic drivers because of their key role in fishing, hunting, agriculture and recreation.

Wetlands vary widely because of differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors. Wetlands are often found alongside waterways and in flood plains. However, some wetlands have no apparent connection to surface water like rivers, lakes or the ocean, but have critical groundwater connections.

Generally, wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface. Wetlands vary widely because of regional and local differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors, including human disturbance. Indeed, wetlands are found from the tundra to the tropics and on every continent except Antarctica.

For regulatory purposes under the Clean Water Act, the term wetlands means "those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas." Two types of wetlands are tidal and non tidal.

For information or questions contact Kevin W. Utt.

Wetlands Board

Wetlands in Virginia

EPA Wetlands