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Wetlands in the United States and the Need for Their Conservation
Wetlands can be considered the vital link between water and land. The term "wetlands" is actually a collective term for marshes, swamps, bogs, and similar areas found in generally flat vegetated areas, in depressions in the landscape, and between dry land and water along the edges of streams, rivers, lakes, and coastlines. Wetlands can be found in nearly every county and climatic zone in the United States.
Because they are so varied, wetlands can be difficult to recognize. Some are wet all of the time; some may look completely dry most of the time. Our ideas of what a wetland should look like may not include all types of wetlands. Some wetlands are large and some are very small. Many have been altered by human activities such as farming, ranching, and the building of roads, dams, and towns.
Wetlands have often been regarded as wastelands-- sources of mosquitoes, flies, unpleasant odors, and disease. People thought of wetlands as places to avoid or, better yet, eliminate. Largely because of this negative view, more than half of America's original wetlands have been destroyed-- drained and converted to farmland, filled for housing developments and industrial facilities, or used to dispose of household and industrial waste.
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