Wetlands: Characteristics and Boundaries
This book from the National Research Council (NRC) arm of the National Academy of Sciences on the characteristic of wetlands, the role they play in the functioning of ecosystems, and how they can be effectively defined in light of this. In 1991, proposed changes in the legal definitions of wetlands stirred controversy and focused attention on what "wetlands" actually are and the scientific and economic aspects of their management. The NRC Committee that prepared this report drew its members from academia, government, business, and the environmental community. It builds a rational, scientific basis for delineating wetlands in the landscape and offers recommendations for further action. Also discussed are the diverse hydrological and ecological functions of wetlands, and recommendations concerning controversial areas such as permafrost wetlands, riparian ecosystems, irregularly flooded sites, and agricultural wetlands.
Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act
These reports from the National Academy of Sciences gives a broad scientific overview of the nature of wetlands, their importance for ecosystem stability and why it is so important that they be protected. The NAS prepared a full report on wetlands and their place in ecosystems. The first is an NAS Web Extra summary of their conclusions and the second is the report itself.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Wetlands Web Site
This site has a good, concise overview of what wetlands are, how they function in the environment and what must be done to protect them. It also has information on the EPA's programs for working with landowners for their preservation, including their Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in which you can receive incentive payments and rental sharing from the EPA for taking various measures to protect and/or restore wetlands on your property.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's National Wetlands Inventory site
This is the USFWS's National Wetlands Inventory site, which maintains detailed maps of the nation's known wetlands and publications with a wide range of wetlands science and information. The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service produces information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats. It is used by Federal, State, and local agencies, academic institutions, U.S. Congress, and the private sector as well. The NWIC has mapped 90 percent of the lower 48 states, and 34 percent of Alaska. About 44 percent of the lower 48 states and 13 percent of Alaska are digitized. Congressional mandates require the NWIC to produce status and trends reports to Congress at ten-year intervals. In addition to status and trends reports, the NWIC has produced over 130 publications, including manuals, plant and hydric soils lists, field guides, posters, wall size resource maps, atlases, state reports, and numerous articles published in professional journals. It is this database that provides the nation with it's most up to date and used wetlands status information. The site also has a kids section.