More than 80% of the wetlands once found in West Virginia have been lost. They were filled in or drained to grow crops, build towns and roads, and extract minerals. With the loss of our wetlands went the many services they provide. The Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Food Security Act of 1985 aim to stop the net loss of wetlands nationwide. In West Virginia, DEP works with other agencies to protect wetlands through monitoring, assessment, restoration, and regulation.
Wetlands can improve water quality, reduce flood impacts, help streams flow, provide wildlife habitat, and contribute to a healthy environment. West Virginia’s wetlands perform these functions in various ways, depending on the plants, soils, hydrology, and stressors in each wetland.