Wetland Habitat in America’s Driest State

By Alayna Wood

When you think of a wetland, you might think about marshes or swamps in places like Florida — teeming with alligators and other aquatic species. But wetlands come in many shapes and forms, and are found in the most unexpected of places — even in America’s driest state!

“These wetlands benefit the environment in quite a few ways,” says Elena Larson, director of development at the Rosewood Nature Study Area. “A big one of those is water storage. A healthy wetland can store between 1 and 1.5 million gallons of water. They also host really high biodiversity and can filter our water.”

The Truckee Meadow is designated as a “wet meadow,” which is a type of wetland with soils that are saturated for most of the growing season.

“Wetland soils tend to be hydrophilic, which means they really like water,” says Larson. “And it basically acts as a sponge to hold the water in.

Many of the wet meadows in the Rosewood Nature Study Area have retracted from their historical range because of water diversion, agriculture, and human development. Wetlands are essential to the health of many areas in the United States, and no less so here in Nevada.

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