A wetland is an area that is wet year-round. Wetlands are often near streams, but depending on topography could be completely isolated. Wetlands have special soils and unique plants that filter water and absorb nutrients. Wetlands provide vital habitat for birds and wildlife, improve water quality and store water to reduce flooding.

Wetlands come in different sizes, shapes and contain different plant types based on how water moves through them. They don’t need to be large to be beneficial. Your neighborhood may have built wetlands to help store and filter water that flows over roads, roofs and driveways. You may even have wet spots in your yard that are suitable for native plants that thrive in wet conditions.

Wetlands for Flood Control

A wetlands ability to store water is essential to the prevention of downstream flooding. If Jackson Bottom, Killin, and Fernhill, three of Washington County’s largest wetlands, weren’t protected, all the water (collectively covering over 1,400 acres) would flow downstream and cause further erosion and flooding in communities. Wetlands also provide incredible habitat and wonderful opportunities to connect with nature and look for birds and wildlife.

The Department of State Lands and the US Army Corps of Engineers have jurisdiction over activities that affect streams and wetlands, so any work affecting these areas will their need review and potentially permits.