From the moment the settlers came to America, wetlands were wastelands, bogs of treachery, mires of dispair, homes of pests, hideouts for outlaws.
In 1960's public awareness of our lack of natural resources was on the rise, and after 200 years of abuse and destruction of approximatley half the nation's wetlands. In 1972 Virginia Wetland Act was passed by the General Assembly: "Wetlands are an irreplaceable natural resource which in its natural state is essential to the ecological systems of the tidal rivers, bays and estuaries of the Commonwealth."

Picture of the wetland area
Picture of the bird in the wet grass The Chesapeake Bay area is often referred to as the "Gold Coast". Wetlands are the natural link between the land and the water. They are areas covered by water or that have waterlogged soils during the growing season. Plants growing in wetlands are capable of living in soils lacking oxygen for at least part of the growing season. Because of the tidal flow, ocean water laden with salt and freshwater streams mix, creating an environment that changes constantly, resulting in mudflats, void of vegetation.

Wetlands are:

     Nurseries of marine life. Wetlands provide necessary breeding, nesting, feeding, and predator escape habitats for millions of waterfowl, other birds, mammals, and reptiles.

     Act as natural composters. They trap, hold and decompose sediments, nutrients, chemical and organic wastes, and debris from upland runoff - before it reaches the waterway and degrades water quality.

     A sponge which holds flood waters. The vegetation in the marsh slows the velocity of the flood water, decreasing its powerful erosive force.Wetlands act as natural reservoirs and ground-water recharge areas. They are important in protecting the quantity and quality of ground water used as a source of drinking water. The presence of wetlands in a flood plain can reduce flood peaks by 80 percent.