Every year on February 2nd, World Wetlands Day is celebrated as an opportunity to raise awareness about the vital role that wetlands play in the environmental health of the planet and the lives of people around the world. This year’s theme is “Water and Wetlands,” and Larson Design Group (LDG)’s Environmental team members are weighing in with facts, figures and more about this important day.
Why is this year’s theme of “water and wetlands” important?
Water is one of the biggest defining characteristics of wetlands. Water gives wetlands the ability to provide diverse and valuable ecosystems that are home to 40% of the Earth’s known species. These resources protect our communities from damaging flood waters by absorbing up to 1.5 million gallons of water per acre. They also sustain agriculture and aquaculture production that feed billions throughout the world by providing natural storage and filtration of water. Wetlands and water are important to the entire ecosystems functionality and play a large role in the advancement of our everyday life. Water and wetlands are two of the most important resources we have on earth and by working together, they can be protected, conserved, and restored. – Josh Glace, Senior Environmental Specialist
Why did you choose the Environmental field for your career?
I have always been fascinated with the natural world around us and a career in the Environmental field was a result of always being interested in being out of the office. All my life I’ve enjoyed activities like fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, exploring forests and trails, and beachcombing; and growing up in Anchorage (Alaska), there was always somewhere new to experience. I wouldn’t say I intentionally steered myself into an environmental career, as a great deal of my work experience up to now has been in pipeline, refinery and wellhead operations and regulation. Instead, I think I have stayed open to new opportunities that interested me. Ultimately, that lead me to a career in the Environmental field, which I am passionate about. – Wyatt Tompkins, Environmental Specialist
What is a fact about “wetlands” that people might find surprising?
Wetlands are the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems. Wetlands can store up to 50 times more carbon compared to rain forests which helps to combat climate change. They cumulatively accommodate more than 19,500 animal and plant species. In the United States, 80% of all the breeding birds require wetlands for survival. – Bob Cawthern, Senior Environmental Specialist
Why do you value wetlands and their environmental impact?
I value wetland resources for their versatility to complete many key functions in the environment. A few of these functions include water storage, filtration, groundwater recharge, transformation and storage of nutrients, and providing habitat and food sources for a diverse ecological community. A wetlands ability to hold excess water during a flood event, or recharge groundwater during a dry period shows how responsive they are to their surrounding environments. It is this responsiveness that makes wetlands such an important environmental resource. – Teah Gray, Environmental Technician
What actions can people take in their everyday lives to protect wetlands?
As we live in this ever–changing world and human expansion explodes, even the smallest of changes have huge effects. Things that we utilize everyday can diminish the value and effectiveness of wetlands. Here are a few ways that people can protect wetlands in everyday life:
Household plants, lawns, and gardens: Limit your use of fertilizers and chemicals in growing your plants and lawn as the excess chemicals can make its way into our water resources and groundwater supply. Fertilizers and chemicals can be very harmful to the health and wellness of wetlands and waterbodies. One acre of wetlands can hold up to 1.5 million gallons of water and recharges groundwater supply.
Wetland wildlife: Like wetland plants, wetland wildlife is fragile and susceptible to damage. Wetlands provide a haven to many species of wildlife. It is important to not alter the habitat within and around wetland resources, as they provide a source of shelter and food. Make sure to leave natural unmaintained vegetation around aquatic resources to promote wildlife utilization and resource success.
Conserve: Between conserving water, recycling, and reducing pollution, there is less waste that can end up in wetlands and water resources. Great ways of being responsible include making sure you are recycling correctly, start a compost in your back yard for biodegradable waste, and minimize excess water consumption. Every little bit helps. – Jim Neal, Senior Engineering Technician
LDG’s environmental specialists are committed to providing innovative, environmentally sound, and economical solutions. Our experts are fluent in the challenges that arise when proposed project activities interact with the natural environment, whether planning a residential development, constructing a utility line, replacing a bridge, or restoring a stream. In all field data collection, reporting and analysis, we focus on conserving, maintaining, and improving our natural resources and environment as well as helping clients navigate the complex regulatory landscape. For more information, click here.
Founded in 1986, Larson Design Group is a national, award‐winning, 100 percent employee-owned architecture, engineering and consulting firm with 12 offices in five states and a vision to elevate client relationships, enrich the careers and lives of its employee-owners, and enhance the communities in which it operates. For more information, visit www.larsondesigngroup.com.
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