World Wetlands Day is celebrated each year on February 2nd to raise awareness about wetlands. This day also marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted as an international treaty in 1971.

Nearly 90% of the world’s wetlands have been degraded since the 1700s, and we are losing wetlands three times faster than forests. Over 50% of the wetlands in Wisconsin have been drained.  Yet, wetlands are critically important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, world economies, and more. It is urgent that we raise national and global awareness about wetlands in order to reverse their rapid loss and encourage actions to conserve and restore them.

World Wetlands Day is the ideal time to increase people’s understanding of these critically important ecosystems.  This year’s theme is “Wetlands and Human Wellbeing”.  The overriding message behind this year’s campaign is that human well-being is tied to the state of the world’s wetlands. We are dependent on these life-sustaining ecosystems. But they must be healthy if they are to continue to provide us with water and food, support biodiversity, provide livelihoods, protect against extreme weather events, and mitigate against climate change.

Just as wetlands and people are interlaced, so are our individual actions that impact these richly biodiverse habitats. By drawing strength from our common concern for the world’s wetlands, we can do more to care for, nurture, and support these precious ecosystems.

Every wetland matters. Every effort counts.

What action can you take:

  • Educate yourself and others about how wetlands and human wellbeing are interconnected. Visit the website for more information: https://www.worldwetlandsday.org or https://www.wisconsinwetlands.org
  • Use social media to spotlight wetlands and World Wetlands Day. Share a story about how wetlands have played a part in your own life and use the hashtags:  #WWD2024, #WetlandsWednesday, #WetlandsandHumanWellbeing, or #WetlandsandPeople.
  • Make water-friendly and ecosystem-conscious decisions. Use water sparingly. Adopt a diet with less environmental impact. Avoid using toxic products that could flow into wetlands. Don’t dump waste or rubbish in wetlands.
  • Support wetland restoration – locally, regionally or nationally. Raise awareness of its critical importance.  Check out these websites for local projects:

https://www.mmsd.com/what-we-do/milwaukee-estuary-aoc/burnham-canal-wetland-restoration-project

https://mkewaterwaypartners.org/projects/

https://milwaukeeriverkeeper.org/dam-removal/