Happy World Wetlands Day from ROR


World Wetlands Day

While February 2 is familiar to many as a day in which weather predictions are made from the site of a groundhog’s shadow—or in Houma, by the site of Jonathan Foret’s nutria, Beignet—it is also an international day of observance for a critical component of our environment, wetlands. World Wetlands Day is a global celebration to raise awareness on the significance of wetlands, and the indirect and direct relationship to people and the planet.

What are wetlands?

Wetlands are land areas defined by the presence of water, specifically the saturation of soils, either seasonally or permanently. In most cases, wetlands are known to be transitional regions between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Wetlands are one of the most thriving habitats to wildlife, supporting a huge array of organisms, such as wetland-adapted plants, birds, fish, amphibians, shellfish, and a slew of microorganisms.

Variance in water level and location often influence the environmental characteristics found in the different types of wetlands. Simply stated, inland wetlands are comprised of marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, floodplains, and swamps. Wetlands positioned in a coastal watershed, coastal wetlands, include saltwater marshes, estuaries, mangroves, and lagoons.

The value and benefits provided by wetlands are immense, vital, and extend far beyond Louisiana—where 40% of wetlands in the continental United States are located, yet 80% of wetland loss. Coastal wetlands act as a first line of defense in the face of weather events to provide protection as a natural buffer. Wetlands also contribute greatly to erosion control, water quality, commercial fisheries national and internationally, carbon sequestration, and recreation. In Louisiana especially, the extensive environmental and economic importance of wetlands drive the dire fight to restore our coast.

In honor of World Wetlands Day, Restore or Retreat is excited to participate in the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center’s 10th Annual World Wetlands Celebration for the second year. This Friday, February 1, ROR will join other organizations to raise awareness of wetlands and the immense impacts provided to our coast, community, and culture. This educational event will allow for hands-on activities with students from local Terrebonne schools at the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum; ROR will be showcasing the effects of wave energy against a small scale barrier island.

So, we would like to wish you a happy World Wetlands Day!! While we may be a few days early, it is never too early to work toward saving the wetlands of our irreplaceable coast!!