Turtles in wetland

More than 60 percent of Tampa Bay Water’s drinking water supply comes from groundwater wells located in and around Tampa Bay area wetlands. Wetlands are saturated lands filled with marshes, swamps, gators and birds, and their health is essential to our region’s water supply. Wetlands are particularly vulnerable to human activity and changes in land use, and therefore are carefully monitored and protected by federal, state and local laws.

This is the third of a three-part series for American Wetlands Month. American Wetlands Month is sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wetlands are an important part of Florida’s ecosystem and water supply, and their preservation is essential. They remove excess nutrients, toxic substances and sediment from water that flows through them, helping to improve downstream water quality and the overall health of the waters in our communities. Natural wetlands are effective in removing harmful contaminants such as pesticides, landfill leachate, dissolved chlorinated compounds, metals and excessive stormwater runoff.  They can alleviate residential flooding after a heavy rain and prevent shoreline erosion along rivers and other bodies of water, and are home to a unique blend of plant and wildlife species.

We all can work together to preserve and protect our wetlands by:

  • Finding out where local wetlands are, and helping to keep the area free of litter, debris and other pollutants.
  • Avoiding altering wetlands for construction purposes – trying to locate new construction in more upland areas.
  • Avoiding cutting or trimming wetland plants and trees near the property and not throwing grass cuttings or tree and shrub trimmings into wetlands.

The Tampa Bay region counts on wellfields to deliver one of the most dependable sources of drinking water, and many plant and wildlife species depend on the waterlogged environment for its unique sources of shelter and food. Tampa Bay Water continues monitoring the environmental systems in these saturated lands to ensure their health and recovery. We depend on these systems to deliver a clean, safe drinking water supply for future generations so we must continue to work and live in harmony with our natural environment.