Wetlands come in many shapes and sizes, but, generally, when we talk about wetlands we're talking about a very shallow pond or lake.
So shallow, in fact, that much of the vegetation in the wetland emerges from the surface of the water. The water level in a wetland can vary greatly over a short period of time, making it difficult to define exactly where a wetland begins, and where it ends.
Wetlands are often likened to giant sponges, because the water that flows into a wetland is often stored for a long time in the soil and vegetation. For this reason, wetlands play a role in flood control and recharging groundwater aquifers.
Artificial wetlands like the one to the right are being constructed in some areas of Ohio, particularly where livestock are raised, because of their potential to filter out pollutants from contaminated water such as runoff from feedlots.
One of the greatest benefits of wetlands is the great variety of plant and animal life.
Fish, mammals, waterfowl, insects, songbirds, and any number of unique plant species can all be found in Ohio's wetlands. More than 90% of Ohio's wetlands have been drained or filled since European settlers first arrived. Laws now exist to protect our remaining wetlands, much remains to be done to protect this incredible natural resource.
Now, on to the Mighty River!