Wetlands provide a multitude of ecological, economic, and social benefits. They provide habitat for many organisms and are nurseries for many saltwater and freshwater fishes and shellfish. Wetlands also hold and slowly release floodwater and snow
melt, recharge groundwater, act as cleansing filters, recycle nutrients, and provide recreation. As of 2000, the contiguous United States was estimated to have about 105 million acres of wetlands remaining. Over the past 60 years, it has lost over 16
million acres of wetlands, and the loss continues at about 58,000 acres annually. Nearly one-third of the loss is due to urban development, with the rest being nearly equally divided between rural development, agriculture, and silviculture (predominantly logging). The southeastern United States is experiencing the greatest losses. The Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986 requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct status and trend studies of the nation's wetlands and
to report the results to Congress each decade. The overall goal is to have no more net loss of wetlands. In the past 5 years,money for flood control projects in Louisiana has been cut dramatically. During that time, two simulations, one of a category 4 hurricane and one of a category 5 hurricane, indicated catastrophic damage and loss of life along the Gulf Coast. The levees
were predicted to break, and massive flooding to occur, in part due to the loss of the sheltering wetlands.
40) Wetlands in the United States___