Long-term NOAA study shows wetland loss - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Long-term NOAA study shows wetland loss

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We're inside the Black Swamp Bird Observatory out at Magee Marsh in Ottawa County.  This preserve acts as a perfect natural filter and defense against many of our pollutions.  But the destruction of these wetlands may play a big part in our algal bloom crisis. 

"We lost 90% wetlands in this area, so yes we've recovered some, but we've got a lot of work to do," Black Swamp Bird Observatory Executive Director Kimberly Kaufman said. 

From 1996 to 2011, America lost more than 1,500 square miles of coastal wetlands.  That's barely smaller than Delaware.  While this doesn't sound like much, much of this is concentrated along the very edge of the Great Lakes.  

"Bald eagles for example, a lot of birds use the wetlands as a place where they build there nests and raise their young," Kaufman said.  "So it's really important for birds, yes, that we continue to expand wetland habitat and protect what we already have."

Kimberly Kaufman walks the lake-shore everyday and sees the changes.  A new satellite atlas shows that her county has shown wetland growth, while some wet scrub marsh has been lost.  

Monroe County also gained nearly 10 and a half square miles of mostly urban development.

"So we have seen a bit of an increase in wetland restoration in the area but we sure hope to see more of that."

This data also splits up our watersheds.  Freshman from Defiance college to UT have watched their stretch of the lower Maumee increase in development by more than 21%.  If you'd like to help, consider purchasing the collector duck postage stamp.

"99 cents out of every dollar goes directly to wetland habitat conservation, wetland requisition," Kaufman said.  Millions of acres have been acquired and restored through the funding."

Link to data: http://www.csc.noaa.gov/ccapatlas/#

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