What are Wetlands and Why are they Important?

Wetlands refer to valuable natural resources including North Andover’s lakes, rivers, ponds, marshes, swamps, lands subject to flooding, vegetated freshwater wetlands, riverfront areas, ephemeral pools, and ephemeral pool habitats. These wetland resource areas play an important role in the following public health and safety interests:

  • Protection of public and private water supplies
  • Protection of Ground Water Supply
  • Sedimentation and Erosion Control
  • Flood Control
  • Storm Damage Prevention
  • Prevention of Pollution
  • Protection of Fisheries
  • Protection of Wildlife & Wildlife Habitat
  • Recreation

In addition, wetlands provide a wealth of values to the public. Wetland benefits can be divided into three basic categories:

  • Fish and wildlife values
  • Environmental quality values
  • Socio-economic values

Destruction or alteration of wetland resource areas eliminates or minimizes these important functions and values. For example, drainage of wetlands eliminates all the beneficial effects of the wetland on water quality and directly contributes to flooding problems. When wetlands are filled or their functions impaired, these benefits are lost and we all pay the price – in increased flooding and storm damage to streets and homes; more contamination of surface and groundwater and drinking water supplies; loss of wildlife habitat; and loss of valuable open space.