May Is American Wetlands Month: Learn! Explore! Take Action!

American Wetlands Month is a time when EPA and our partners in federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit and private sector organizations celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to our Nation's ecological, economic and social health.  Wetlands help improve water quality, increase water storage and supply, reduce flooding and provide critical habitat for plants, fish and wildlife. 

Learn! Explore! Take Action!

  • Learn about wetlands. This is a great time to better understand what a wetland is, where wetlands can be found and the importance of wetlands in your community. Try reading about wetland areas, drawing maps of wetlands you have visited or even identifying native plant species found in wetlands.
  • Take action to protect and restore wetlands. Support and promote wetlands by telling community members about wetlands' vital roles, "adopting" a wetland, joining a local watershed group or participating in a wetland monitoring, restoration or cleanup project.

Why Celebrate Wetlands?

Wetlands are often referred to as the "kidneys" of the landscape for their ability to remove excess nutrients, toxic substances and sediment from water that flows through them, helping to improve downstream water quality and the overall health of the waters in our communities. Studies indicate that depending on the type of wetland, the season and other factors, wetlands can retain significant percentages of pollutants such as nitrates, ammonium, phosphorus and sediment loads. Natural wetlands have also been effective in removing harmful contaminants such as pesticides, landfill leachate, dissolved chlorinated compounds, metals and excessive stormwater runoff. They also protect against flooding, provide recreational opportunities and serve as important habitat for many wildlife species.

To learn more check out our other pages on wetlands: What are wetlandsWhy are wetlands valuableWhat are the different types of wetlands?  and our Wetlands Factsheet Series.

History of American Wetlands Month

American Wetlands Month was created in 1991 by EPA and its federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit, and private sector partners to celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to the nation's ecological, economic and social health and to educate Americans about the value of wetlands as a natural resource. In the past, annual events such as national and regional conferences have been organized to include a broad range of people including wetland scientists, educators and public interest.

The annual celebration of American Wetlands Month in May inspires people to work throughout the year to protect, preserve and expand wetlands.

Let Us Know What is Going on in Your Community

EPA welcomes and encourages you to take action and participate in this exciting outreach effort! 

Tweet us pictures of you and others in your community celebrating American Wetlands Month with the hashtag #WetlandsWork.  Follow us on Twitter at @EPAwater. 

If you'd like to view a sampling of American Wetlands Month Events from 2012, 2013 and 2014, please visit here.

Some American Wetlands Month Partners:

Association of State Wetland Managers 

Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey; USGS-American Wetlands Month Page

Environmental Law Institute

Izaak Walton League of America 

National Park Service

Society of Wetland Scientists 

U.S. National RAMSAR Committee

Follow us on Twitter @EPAwater.