The basic characteristic of a wetland is water-logged soil or a shallow layer of water. Wetlands include mudflats, tidal marshes, bogs, ponds and swamps.
A Freshwater Tidal Marsh
The wetland at Fort Mifflin is a fresh-water tidal marsh. A powerful tide rolls up the Delaware River from the Atlantic twice daily. Saltwater does not mix with fresh water this far up-river.
In colonial times, people feared wetlands as sources of disease and "poisonous vapors." Until fairly recently, people considered wetlands worthless because they weren't useful for building upon or farming.
During the 20th century, marshes and swamps were aggressively drained and filled throughout the United States.
Today, people increasingly understand their importance and are trying to save remaining wetlands from destruction. At Fort Mifflin, we are making efforts to restore and maintain the wetland habitat.
· Are natural purifying systems. Organisms that live in the mud filter toxins and wastes out of water.
· Absorb rain, then release water slowly, reducing the impact of flooding caused by storms.
· Retain water, which then recharges groundwater supplies.
· Absorb the energy of waves with thick vegetation, reducing erosion of river banks.
· Are animal nurseries, providing safe havens for bearing and rearing young.