DEEP: Societal and Environmental Benefits of Wetlands and Watercourses

Societal and Environmental Benefits of Wetlands and Watercourses

How Do Wetlands Benefit Us?

Historically, wetlands were considered wastelands and used as dumps or haphazardly dredged, drained and filled with little thought of the long-term consequences to neighboring lands and community. Population growth and widespread development resulted in accelerated losses of wetlands as well as increased demands for clean water, flood protection, and water-based recreational opportunity.  Until the late 1960s, these beneficial values were seldom considered in land-use decisions. 

That changed with the passage of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act of 1972 where the legislature acknowledged the value of wetlands and watercourses. Now the contributions of wetlands and watercourses to the quality of Connecticut’s environment, and to the well-being of its citizens, are better understood.  We recognize the importance of these resources and beneficial services they provide for people (e.g. recreation, clean water, and flood control), fish and wildlife (e.g. habitat, breeding areas, and food). 

According to the CT General Statute Section 22a-36, called the Legislative finding,  "the wetlands and watercourses of the State are an interrelated web of nature essential to an adequate supply of surface and underground water; to hydrological stability and control of flooding and erosion; to the recharging and purification of groundwater; and to the existence of many forms of animals, aquatic and plant life."