Water Quality

Wetlands are valuable because they protect and improve water quality in streams and lakes.

There are two ways wetlands work to clean water:

tussock1. Wetlands give water in streams a chance to slow down and drop suspended solids like soil particles.

2. Wetland plant communities act like giant water filters to remove¬†pollutants and excess nutrients.¬†Wetlands are so good at cleaning water that people have actually built wetlands to clean up streams and treat sewage! Many wetland plants can absorb pollution, use up excess nutrients, and are hosts to bacteria that decompose organic matter, and breakdown and “eat” other pollutants. But, this doesn’t mean we should put polluted water into natural wetlands, because most wetland plants cannot live in dirty water.

Tussock Sedge (Carex stricta) shown in photo at right.

Macro-invertebrate sampling (what’s that?)

We can tell how clean the water is by looking at what kinds of animals are present in a stream, lake or wetland. Usually, we look for insect larvae and nymphs in the water. These “baby” insects live underwater until they grow big enough to leave the water as an “adult” insect. Some insect larvae and nymphs spend years in a stream before emerging. Below are some of the many insects and invertebrates you will find in the water at Lincoln Marsh.