- Soil Basics
- Soil By Subject
- Around the World
- Land & People
- Lessons & Activities
- Other Resources
Wetlands are not wastelands full of mosquitoes and ooze. They are a valuable filter of nutrients, and provide beneficial flood control and purification. Wetland soils are often wet for most of the year. They lie in low areas and holes. There is a lot of organic matter in these soils, because dead things do not decompose well under water. The subsoil is gray, and often has mottles of several different colors in it. Wetland soils can be productive when farmed, but they need to be managed carefully, as they can also suffer from sinking if humans drain them.
This lesson is appropriate for grades 4+.
1) Define a wetland?
2) Discuss where wetlands can be found
3) Describe some typical wetland soils
4) List the functions of wetlands.
Glossary of terms:
In current glossary:
Other glossary words:
Activities or information:
1) Wetland (hydric) soil profiles
Introduction to Hydric Soils - USDA NRCS (Grades 4+) Basics on what is a hydric or wetland soil.
Plants and Soils in Walnut Wetlands - North Carolina State University (Grades 8+) This site is part of a project done for Wetland Soils course at NCSU. There are good descriptions and OK photos of some wetlands and hydric soil profiles.
Is It a Wetland? Soil Horizons- State of Florida (Grades 8+) Worksheet for observing hydric soils. You will need additional information and/or training in soil description to fully utilize this material.
Wetlands- Portland State University (Grades 10+) Brief overview of chemistry and description of hydric soils.
Wetland Information - USDA Forest Service (Grades 4+ for basic information, Grades 8+ for details) There is a little for everyone in this site. Very basic information and photos for lower grades provided the instructor has some basic understanding of soils.
2) Monitoring wetlands
Volunteer Wetland Monitoring - US EPA (Grade 10+) A guide to monitoring wetlands. For advanced students and teachers looking for a long term project.
1) Why is a wetland important?
2) What makes wetland soils different then other soils?
3) Where are wetlands found?
4) What is peat?