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Conserve and Protect

Wetland conservation and protection is aimed at preventing the loss of wetlands and the functions and values they provide. The United States lost over half of its wetlands since European colonization in the early 1600s, and Vermont lost as much as 35 percent. Until recently, wetlands were seen as obstacles to development, agriculture, and travel, and were systematically drained and altered. Conversion of wetlands was accepted practice as recently as the 1950s, and was even incentivized by government policies. In recent decades, the public has become more aware of the ecological, economic, and social value of wetlands, and the implications of their loss. Shifting cultural attitudes led to the establishment of federal and state regulations aimed at protecting wetlands and their functions. These policy changes slowed the rate of loss, but wetland acreage across the nation continues to decline (see the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Wetlands Status and Trends site for more info). State and federal regulations alone are insufficient to stop the decline; public involvement is needed to conserve and protect our remaining wetlands.