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World Wetland Day

18 Feb 2020 9:46 PM | Natalie Love (Administrator)

The prominent days that we think of for the month of February are typically Valentine’s day and President’s day celebrated on February 14th and 17th respectively. However, there is another important day that is celebrated worldwide on February 2nd: World Wetlands day.  World Wetlands day (WWD) raises global awareness about the value of wetlands and originated in 1971 when the Convention on Wetlands was formed in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.1 The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.2 The first celebration of WWD was in 1997 and continues to be celebrated today by government and community groups by promoting conservation, restoration, and the proper use of wetlands.

According to the EPA, Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. 3 There are two general categories of wetlands, coastal or tidal and inland or non-tidal wetlands, which support various types of vegetation and both aquatic and terrestrial animal species largely determined by the hydrology of the habitat. The functionality of wetlands is also essential in an ecosystem by acting as a water filter, through the absorption of excess nutrients and other pollutants before they reach larger bodies of water, and providing flood and erosion control, by slowing and absorbing floodwaters during periods of excessive rain.4 Additionally, wetlands are economically important due to recreational popularity and the commercial fish and shellfish industry. However, these vital habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Wetlands only account for 6% of the Earth’s land surface and are disappearing three times faster than forests due to factors such as development and climate change.5  This impacts 40% of the world’s plant and animal species that live or breed in wetland areas and threatens to deplete the rich biodiversity that these habitats provide.6 Thankfully, governments and other organizations recognized the enormity of these impacts and have now increased efforts toward the conservation and restoration of wetlands. The general public is encouraged to get involved through volunteer monitoring programs, participating in restoration projects, providing support through donations, and to continue the education outreach of why wetlands are so essential to our environment.


1.) https://sws.org/Education-and-Outreach/world-wetlands-day.html

2.) https://www.ramsar.org/

3.) https://www.epa.gov/wetlands/what-wetland

4.) https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/wetland.html

5.) https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/wetlands-and-biodiversity-theme-world-wetlands-day-2020

6.) https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/2081

Ashley Romero is the Laboratory Manager at GEI Consultants, Inc. and has a background in ecotoxicology.

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