May 1-31 is the national observation of American Wetlands Month.Â Georgia’s six coastal counties have plenty of wetlands:Â 804,228 acres, encompassing 1,256 square miles, reports the National Wetlands Inventory conducted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.Â The National Wetlands Inventory site also provides a wetlands mapper with a list of frequently asked questions for viewing and downloading wetlands data.
- Aerial view of Georgia salt marsh, from the Coastal Resources Division, Georgia DNR
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources describes wetlands as “areas covered with a layer of water for some period of time that have waterlogged soils and plant species which grow only in those wet areas,” according to the spring 2012 issue ofÂ Georgia Sound, the DNR’s Coastal Resources Division newsletter. Georgia’s coast is made up of both salt and fresh water, with 368,484 acres of salt marsh and 432,660 acres of freshwater wetlands.
The Georgia Land Conservation Program describes ways that landowners and other citizens can help conserve Georgia’s coast, wetlands, and other green spaces. For even more definitions and information about wetlands maintenance and regulation, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s site Where Water Meets Land. The closest wildlife refuge to VSU is the Banks Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located in nearby Lanier County, and a great place to view freshwater wetlands.
- Closeup view of Georgia salt marsh, Coastal Resources Division, Georgia DNR
Much more about wetlands in Georgia and across the country appears in the 2011 Fish & Wildlife Service report Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States, 2004-2009. You can also check out this publication and plenty of other government documents about wetlands in print from Odum Library’s Federal and Georgia documents collections. Just contact the government information librarian at 229-245-3748 or firstname.lastname@example.org.