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The Nation : Panel Calls for Protection of Wetlands

A government-sponsored panel recommended a major overhaul of wetlands protection, with states assuming responsibility for a national goal of creating more wetlands than are being destroyed. The National Wetlands Policy Forum, convened at the request of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the proposed goal of ending the conversion of wetlands to other uses did not mean every single parcel of marshy ground would have to be preserved, but enough wetlands should be created or restored to outweigh the losses. About half of the 200 million acres of marshes and bogs, fens, swamps and other wetlands present in the lower 48 states have been converted to other uses, such as housing developments, shopping centers and airports. But the benefits of wetlands have been recognized increasingly: storage of flood water, cleansing of pollution, protection of wildlife, recharging groundwater and controlling erosion.


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