Early explorers called Wisconsin "the Great Swamp," since the territory was covered with ten million acres of wetlands - lands where water stands for at least part of the year. Wetland ecosystems are extremely valuable to wildlife, supporting a greater number of animals than any other type of habitat. Wetlands also absorb flood waters; filter chemicals, sediments, and other impurities out of drinking water; recharge groundwater; and provide a variety of recreational opportunities. Fifty percent of Wisconsin's original wetlands have disappeared. Not only must we maintain our existing wetlands, we must continue efforts to restore those that have been lost.

Wetlands
Female arrowhead plant
The leaves of this plant give its name away.
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Blanding's Turtle on a log
Wildlife watching at a wetland area is a fun summer time activity.
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Male and Female Wood Ducks
The wood duck is often called Wisconsin's most beautiful duck with its bright, multi-colored feathers.
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Close up of cattail
This wetland plant is very common to Wisconsin's marshes, ponds, ditches, rivers and lakes.
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Common Yellowthroat
Keep an eye and ear out for this black-masked yellow-throated male bird.
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Hine's Emerald Dragonfly on a twig
Dragonflies are a spectacular and colorful group of insects.
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Eastern Tiger Salamander
This salamander is the world's-largest land-dwelling salamander.
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Muskellunge
Meet the muskellunge—a lean, mean fightin' machine.
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Osprey with carp, Image Credit: Joe Riederer
The Osprey is also known as the fish hawk.
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Red-winged Blackbird in Flight
Find any wet or moist habitat in Wisconsin and there you'll find the common red-winged blackbird.
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Beaver
The beaver holds the title for being the largest rodent in North America.
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Majestic Great Blue Heron
Have you ever seen groups of huge nests made of large sticks weighing down tall tree tops?
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Mink
Sleek with thick, chocolate brown fur, minks are related to the badger and skunk.
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Otter in water
Wild otters are not often seen because they are very secretive.
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Willow tree on white background
This is a large family of trees and shrubs that grow along streams and in other moist places.
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Yellow lotus in bloom
This beautiful wetland plant can be found throughout the Midwest and eastern United States.
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