Wherever you live, there’s much you can do to help protect, preserve and restore wetlands. Even small actions, when done by many people, can have a big impact. So wherever you live, whatever you choose to do to help, the wetlands will benefit from it!
#1 Help keep wetlands clean
- Keep pet waste, toxic chemicals, fertilizer or motor oil from going into drains that flow into rivers, lakes or the ocean. Dispose of these items in the garbage or at your local toxic waste disposal center.
- When you see trash or debris, pick it up and dispose of it the proper receptacle.
- Use non-toxic cleaning, lawn and gardening products. Remember, if it kills weeds in your garden, it can kill vegetation in the wetlands.
- Never spray your garden or lawn with chemicals on a windy or rainy day. Those chemicals will wash into waterways.
#2 Help keep the wetland ecosystem in balance
- Use phosphate-free dish and laundry detergents. Phosphates can promote algae growth when it gets into waterways. Overgrowths of algae can choke out existing plant species.
- Plant only native species in your garden. This helps preserve the natural balance of the ecosystem in your area.
- If you live on or near a wetland, plant using living shoreline techniques.
#3 Help preserve wetland acreage
- If you’re building or planning on expanding an existing structure, stay well clear of wetlands.
- If you notice dumping, digging, dredging or other activity that seems unauthorized around a wetland, report it to your local coastline authority. If you’re not sure who to call, contact the EPA and they can assist you in finding the appropriate local agency.
#4 Create & support public policy to restore and protect wetlands
- Join a local, state or community program for coastal preservation and begin working with local agencies to protect and restore wetlands near you.
- Run for office! Many land development decisions happen on the local and state level. Use the power of you convictions and your voice to speak for the wetlands.
#5 And as always, reduce, reuse and recycle!