What are Wetlands?
Coastal wetlands are directly adjacent to the ocean and include beaches, salt marshes, dunes, coastal banks, rocky intertidal shores, and barrier beaches. Inland wetlands are areas where water is at or just below the surface of the ground. Although these wetlands can appear dry during some seasons, they contain enough water to support certain plants and soils. Inland wetlands include marshes, wet meadows, bogs, and swamps. Wetlands that border on ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams are called bordering vegetated wetlands.
Why and How are Wetlands Protected?
Wetlands are part of our "common wealth." They contribute to public health and safety, not only for you and your family, but for your community as well. Wetlands protect drinking water, prevent storm damage, and provide fish, shellfish, and wildlife habitats. Wetlands also support commercial fishing, tourism, recreation, and educational opportunities. These valuable resource areas are found in every community across Massachusetts and are an important part of a river's watershed. Although most wetlands are found on private property - maybe even yours - their benefits are important to everyone. Landowners have an important role in protecting wetlands.