Flora and Fauna
Wetlands: Mother Natures's Protein Factory, Aquatic Breeding Grounds and Flood Protection for our Mainlands
(Submitted by Merryl Kafka)
Once considered a wasteland, wetlands are now protected thanks to the 1972 Federal Wetlands Protection Act, and considered one of the world's most productive and valuable natural resources. Simply stated, it is an area that is soggy, or wet for prolonged periods of time; it can be either a fresh water, saline or brackish habitat, tidal or non tidal for inland areas, with water and soil properties that influence the ecology of the plants and animals living there. Wetlands perform many vital ecological services as air and water filters "Kidneys of the Sea"; breeding habitats for many species of fish and invertebrates "Nursery of the Sea"; they also function as "mother nature's sponge" to absorb excess water from rain, floods, or storms, and can also reduce shoreline erosion with emergent plant life, thus providing wildlife with a variety of habitats for food and shelter. Fresh-water wetlands provide such resources as timber, blueberries, cranberries, wild rice, fish and game. And as sea-food lovers, it is estimated that over 60% of our commercial fish and invertebrates spend a potion of their lives as larvae and juveniles in the nutrient-rich and protective salt marshes.
Last winter dozens of Friends of DIP, with the approval and support from the Broward Parks Department Supervisor Katharine Hendrickson, and Kristin Hoss, from the Youth Environmental Alliance, and Master Certified Ecologist, planted small plugs of Spartina, a salt marsh grass on the island. This was the first time this plant was introduced as a native species on the island. Let's help preserve what little wetlands are left, amounting to just about 6% of the current land surface that is classified as wetlands.
Remember... Coastlines are our lifelines!  


                                          Volunteers planting Spartina marsh grasses


                                        Spartina Marsh Grasses 8 months later, at low tide