What is a Wetland?

Published 1/29/2024 10:38:26 AM

What is a wetland?

A wetland is an area of land that is continuously or periodically wet during the year. Also called swamps, marshes, bogs, or prairie potholes, Iowa was once dotted with thousands of wetlands.


Over 90% of Iowa’s original wetlands have been drained or destroyed. The wetland above is not natural. It was constructed in 2010 by Polk County Conservation to capture and prevent silt from flowing into Discovery Pond, helping to keep the water clean.

What Do Wetlands Do?

Wetlands provide a home for a variety of wildlife and also function like a sponge. They hold water and slowly release it into the environment which reduces flooding. Like a motel, wetlands also provide a resting spot for migrating waterfowl and even serve as a nursery, offering a perfect breeding area for animals like frogs, salamanders, and dragonflies.