Wetlands – Unique, Productive and Valuable

Wetlands species including softstem rush, Torrey's Rush and Illinois Bundleflower

Wetlands species including Softstem Rush, Torrey's Rush and Japanese Millet and Frog Fruit

Historically wetlands were viewed as being useless, tracts of land full of diseases. Today however, wetlands rank equally with tropical rain forests and coral reefs in terms of environmental importance, productivity and biodiversity. As such, wetlands encompass many values including recreational, historical, scientific, and cultural. Wetlands are typically identified by:
  1. The presence of surface water for at least part of the year;
  2. Soils that are uniquely different to those found in adjacent uplands because they are water-logged; and
  3. Hydrophytic or aquatic plants, i.e., they are adapted to growing in water or saturated soils.
Lorenz's OK Seeds, proud to be a member of Ducks Unlimited

Lorenz's OK Seeds, proud to be a member of Ducks Unlimited

The term wetland covers a wide array of “types” including inland rivers, lakes and peat swamps, coastal lagoons, estuaries and human-made wetlands. Regardless of their “type” wetlands provide vital transitional areas between land and water.  Subsequently, they play major roles in maintaining water quality; providing food and habitat for fish and wildlife; mitigation of flood and erosion damage. Additionally, we enjoy wetlands for hiking, bird watching, canoeing, horse riding, photography and similar recreational activities. Unfortunately around 50% of America’s original wetland habitats have disappeared during the last 200 years. While some of this has been due to natural causes, many human activities have contributed greatly to this environmental disaster. Activities such as dredging for canals or the draining and filling of wetlands to “reclaim” land for agriculture, grazing, or development uses must all shoulder a high degree of responsibility for this destruction. Today however, reclaiming wetlands and the actual construction of wetlands have become major industries for a number of reasons. For example, developers often add constructed wetlands for aesthetic values and recreational opportunities. Wetlands plants can remove toxic contaminants from water and soil and have been used to treat acid drainage from abandoned coalmines. Similarly, they often form buffers between urban development and groundwater resources.
Wetlands Flowers, left to right - top to bottom, Frog Fruit, Plains Coreopsis, Pennsylvania Smartweed, Illinios Bundleflower

Wetlands Flowers, left to right - top to bottom, Frog Fruit, Plains Coreopsis, Pennsylvania Smartweed, Illinios Bundleflower

In areas where flood and/or erosion control is an issue, wetlands act like oversized sponges by absorbing and reducing the speed of excess water associated with heavy rainfall. They can also be combined with pools or ponds to increase both storage capacity and habitat values. Keep in mind however, that site selection and the generation of design and maintenance plans are vital if constructed wetlands are to function properly. Undoubtedly, wetlands are unique, productive and valuable ecosystems that support wide ranging ecological, social and environmental functions.  Moreover, they are amongst the world’s most biologically productive and economically important habitat types.  They assist in keeping water clean by removing contaminants, offer habitats for plants and animals (many of which are endangered) and help protect neighboring land by providing a buffer to flooding and erosion. Lorenz’s OK Seeds, LLC. carries a wide range of wetlands seed the majority of which are harvested in Oklahoma. Varieties include: Switch Grass, Alkali Sacaton, Torrey's Rush, Three-Square Rush, Softstem Rush, Frog Fruit, Canada Golden Rod, Pennsylvania Smartweed, Eastern Gama Grass, Purpletop, Common Reed, and Broomsedge.

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