Wetlands Cover Nearly One-Third of Alaska
February 2, 2020 is not just Super Bowl Sunday or Groundhog Day, it’s also World Wetlands Day. The annual celebration is designed to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands for people and the planet, and this year’s theme is “Wetlands & Biodiversity.”
Did you know Alaska is home to nearly two-thirds of our nation’s wetlands? Our Department of Conservation says Alaska’s 130 million acres of wetlands cover nearly one-third of our state.
“Wetlands are land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally,” according to the sponsors of World Wetlands Day. “Inland wetlands include marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps. Coastal wetlands include saltwater marshes, estuaries, mangroves, lagoons and even coral reefs.”
At Alaskan Dream Cruises, one of our core values is environmental respect. Even after five decades, we remain in awe of the pristine waters, lush rainforests, and the coastal and inland wetlands that make up our varied and spectacular landscape. We’re committed to sustainable practices and conservation and are now using environmentally conscious towels and linens on board, eliminating single-use plastics, and reducing our fleet’s carbon footprint. In fact, our newest vessel, the Kruzof Explorer, is equipped with solar panels.
According to Alaska’s Geospatial Council, “The value of wetlands to wildlife in Alaska is not limited to migratory birds; many mammals, fish and other species utilize the habitat year-round. Wetlands located within key watersheds also provide rearing habitat to juvenile salmon.”
The Audubon Society calls the Mendenhall Wetlands, near Juneau, one of the key migratory waterfowl and shorebird stopovers in coastal Alaska. The area, which Audubon says is of outstanding value to water birds, as well as certain grassland and wet-meadow songbirds and raptors, is host to well over 200 bird species.
In addition to supporting wildlife, the Geospatial Council says Alaska’s wetlands have many other valuable ecological functions. They offer insulation for permafrost, maintain water quality by slowly filtering excess nutrients, sediments, and pollutants, and also help with flood control.
Another reason we value our wetlands is their natural beauty and access for recreational use. Our guests appreciate them for hiking, wildlife viewing and photography, as well as kayaking.
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