Due to its unique geography, geology and climate, Wisconsin has been blessed with a large diversity and abundance of wetland ecosystems. At the time of early European settlement, more than 10 million acres of wetland were found in what now constitutes Wisconsin. During the past 150, we have lost almost 50%, or five million acres, of our original wetland heritage, and a large portion of the wetlands that remain (especially in the populated southern half of the state) are considerably degraded.
Remaining wetlands represent significant economic value for our state because of the ecological services they provide to our communities including flood prevention and water purification. Wisconsin's wetlands also contribute to our tourism economy; examples of each of Wisconsin's wetland communities can still be visited and enjoyed. WWA's Wetland Gems program highlights a wide diversity of high quality wetlands of the state.
Our Wetland Communities of Wisconsin webpages, available by clicking links in the menu above, describe the state's diverse wetland communities and some of their most characteristic features, including the flora found there. WWA has also produced a publication with shorter descriptions and photos of each of the state's 12 wetland community types; click the image to the right to download a copy.
The following table, adapted from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resourcesí Land Legacy Report1 and Wildlife Action Plan2 illustrates which wetland communities are found in which regions of the state: