On World Wetlands Day, Environment Colorado highlights state and federal actions to protect these critical habitats

Media Contacts
Rex Wilmouth

Former Senior Program Director, Environment Colorado

Wetlands occupy 2% of Colorado’s land, critical ecosystems for unique species

Environment Colorado

DENVER – To mark World Wetlands Day, Environment Colorado highlighted two actions that federal and state leaders could take to protect these vital areas and the unique species that call them home.

Wetlands occupy about 2 percent of Colorado’s land area and are critical habitats for sandhill cranes, beavers, river otters, and dozens of toads, frogs, fish and other birds. In addition to providing habitat for wildlife and supporting biodiversity in other ecosystems, wetlands help filter water by trapping pollutants and offer a buffer zone for extreme events such as flooding.

“Our wetlands are special places and provide critical habitat for so many animals,” said Rex Wilmouth, Senior Program Director for Environment Colorado. “On World Wetlands Day, it’s important to lift up actions that our state and federal leaders need to take to ensure our wetlands are protected for generations to come.”

Reinstate the federal clean water protections: Under the Trump administration Colorado lost federal protections for between 25-50% of our wetlands. The Trump administration’s effort was invalidated by two federal courts but these waterways are still at risk. Environment Colorado is calling on the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to officially restore the clean water protections that existed before the Trump administration’s attacks. Coloradans can sign a petition here.

Reduce Plastic Pollution: A recent U.S. Geological Survey found microscopic bits of colored plastic in 90% of the water samples they took in Colorado including in Rocky Mountain National Park. Animals mistake microplastics as food and can ingest them. Given the role wetlands play as critical habitats, we need to do more to reduce overall plastic waste. Environment Colorado is calling on state leaders to pass a bill to incentivise companies to move away from single-use plastic packaging by ensuring producers take financial responsibility for the stuff they wrap their products with. Representative Lisa Cutter will be introducing a bill on this topic next week. 

“To conserve our wetlands we need to ensure they have the protections they deserve and we turn off the tap of pollutants like single-use plastics,” said Wilmouth.