Marshes at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s eastern shore. By Jennifer Weeks World Wetlands Day on Feb. 2 marks the date when 18 nations signed the Convention on Wetlands in 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Since that time, scientists have shown that wetlands provide many valuable services, from buffering coasts against floods to filtering water and storing carbon. These five articles from our archive highlight wetlands’ diversity and the potential payoffs from conserving and restoring them. 1. Soaking Up Floodwaters Wetlands line coasts in many parts of the world. They act as natural sponges that soak up floodwaters and absorb force from storm surges, protecting communities further inland. Working with Lloyds of London, UC Santa Cruz researchers Siddharth Narayana and Michael Beck sought to quantify the value of these functions. Using insurance industry storm surge models, they calculated that during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, wetlands along the U.S. Atlantic coast prevented more than $625 million in direct property damage by reducing storm surge. They also estimated that marshes in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey reduced annual losses from flooding during smaller storms by an average of 16 percent, and up […]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here