Wetlands provide critical habitat for hundreds of species of fish, birds and mammals—including commercially valuable fish and shellfish—making them vital to the region’s commercial fishing industries and popular sites for boating, bird watching and wildlife study. Wetlands also improve the health of the Bay: located where land and water meet, wetlands act as buffers that slow the flow of pollutants into the water, trapping nutrients, sediment and toxic contaminants.

Wetlands also protect shorelines and property from erosion and floods. Just like a sponge, wetlands soak up and hold large amounts of stormwater and flood water, gradually releasing this water over time. This means wetlands are especially important in our cities, towns and suburbs, where development increases the rate and volume of stormwater runoff.

Additionally, many people visit wetlands for popular hobbies and family activities such as boating, bird watching, photography, and wildlife study.