Texas' Vanishing Wetlands
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It is obvious that Texas and many other areas are losing large amounts of wetlands acreage. If these trends continue, Texas may be left without the valuable wetlands acreage it needs for such diverse purposes as habitat for migrating birds, fish shellfish, and other aquatic species, water quality improvement, flood control and other purposes. Some have argued that while losing some high value wetlands would be detrimental, other less valuable wetlands may not be worth preserving. A solution may be to come up with a classification scheme that would sort wetlands by type and relative value. Policy issues must be addressed. Protecting all the wetlands in areas where they are plentiful may make it hard to develop any land. Many property owners have complained that the regulatory process surrounding wetlands is too time consuming and burdensome. Mitigation banking may be a way to make living with the regulations easier while still protecting valuable ecosystems. Groups create and restore wetlands for different reasons: some because they are required to by law, others because they want to improve conditions for hunting, still others because they are interested in resource conservation. These efforts are applauded. More follow up needs to be done to ensure that created wetlands function properly. More science is needed so that successful wetlands can be created more often.