American Wetlands Month is a time when the EPA and our partner 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 and supply, reduce flooding and provide critical habitat for plants, fish and wildlife.
Once thought of as wastelands with no practical use or benefit to society, our understanding of the importance and value of wetlands has made significant advances in recent decades. Previously drained for farming or urban development, many municipalities are now seeing the benefits of leaving wetlands undisturbed, and even in constructing new wetlands in and around their metropolitan areas. From flood and erosion control, to improving water quality and providing habitat for wildlife, Eric Fuselier, PWS, will discuss the ecosystem services provided by wetlands, and why their preservation and restoration are important goals to consider as our region continues to grow and develop.
Eric Fuselier, PWS, has had a deep appreciation for wetland ecosystems since he was child when his father would take him to the Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area outside of Little Rock each year to cruise around in their jon boat. As an adult, Eric works with engineers, architects, and urban planners as a certified Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) to minimize the impacts to wetlands from the projects they design. Eric is also a Certified Wetland Botanist, and volunteers his time assisting researchers from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) with collecting field data for their research on the effects of climate change on the wetlands of the Mississippi River Alluvial Valley. Eric also serves on the Executive Board for the Society of Wetland Scientists’ South Central Chapter, a professional organization whose mission is “to promote the understanding, conservation, protection, restoration, science-based management, and sustainability of wetlands.”