Habitat: Wetlands — Value Beyond Measure

Image from texaswetlands.org

Image from texaswetlands.org

This is Passport to Texas sponsored by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program

With a couple of months of hurricane season 2012 remaining, it’s important to remember lessons from the past. We learned seven years ago from Katrina that abundant, healthy wetlands may have helped to moderate the storm surge that devastated the city.

12 –I think there’s a greater appreciation now than ever before of the values that wetlands provide. At least from the standpoint of improving water quality and storm abatement and attenuation of flood flows.

Nathan Kuhn is a wetland ecologist at Texas Parks and Wildlife. He explains how wetlands buffer coastlines from the overwhelming impact of storms.

36 – They basically block the winds and tides and everything else when these hurricanes come in. They’re essentially a buffer. It slowly reduces storm surges as you go farther inland, and it also reduces – just in general – the power of a hurricane. You know how hurricanes always lose power as they’re going over Florida? It’s because they’ve made landfall. Warm water is the driver for hurricanes; and once they hit the land then they lose power. That’s why they lose strength, it’s because they’re no longer getting fuel anymore. That’s the value of wetlands. If you have them way out in the gulf of Mexico from where your house is, then by the time it hits your house it’ll already have lost a lot of steam.

And that can mean the difference between minor structural damage and losing everything.

That’s our show for today… made possible by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program… providing funding for wetland conservation through the Private Lands Enhancement Program.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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