Institute for Water Resources

Home > Missions > Value to the Nation > Environment > Environment: Wetlands

Value to the Nation logo graphic

Value to the Nation

Environment: Wetlands

Wetlands are often called the nurseries of life because they provide a rich mix of nutrients, insects and plants that make them ideal nesting, resting, feeding and breeding grounds for many different types of creatures. Over a third of all federally listed rare and endangered species live in or depend upon wetlands. In addition, wetlands control flooding, improve water quality and serve as rest stops for migratory birds.

Through its ecosystem restoration and regulatory programs the Corps:

  • protects and preserves existing wetlands;
  • restores degraded wetlands; and
  • creates new wetlands.

An example of these efforts is the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area in California. The Corps restored wetlands in this area lost during the creation of the Sacramento River Flood Control Project and Yolo Bypass floodway system. The goal was to restore wetlands while meeting flood control, agricultural and wildlife objectives. This cooperative restoration project involved more than 20 organizations and resulted in the largest wetlands restoration (3,700 acres) in the western United States and has recently expanded to 16,000 acres.

Another example is the Barataria Bay Waterway Wetland Restoration on Queen Bess Island in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Erosion had caused the island to shrink dramatically. The island was losing nearly an acre per year. This ultimately led to a reduction in size from 45 to 17 acres, which increased the frequency of storm-induced overwash, degrading the island's role as a crucial nesting habitat for Louisiana’s state bird, the endangered brown pelican. Using maintenance-dredged sediments from the adjacent Barataria Bay Waterway, the Corps enlarged the island. An additional nine acres of vegetated wetland were created.

Learn more about recent Corps environmental activities associated with wetlands. Learn more about the Corps integrated approach to water resources management related to wetlands.