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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Utilize geospatial data to perform complex analyses of existing databases to determine the functional significance of the wetlands in the Headwaters Yellow River Watershed.  This will allow for the prioritization of future wetland protection, restoration and enhancement in the watershed. 


The project began January 2016 and was completed December 2017.  Marshall County SWCD contracted with Cardno, Inc. to administer the grant.  


For further information on the Headwaters Yellow River Watershed Landscape level Wetland Functional Assessment (LLWFA) feel free to contact:


Tom Estrem
Aquatic Ecologist


Debbie Palmer
Marshall County SWCD

574-936-2024 x 3

Thank You To Our Partners

Wetlands only cover approximately 6% of the earth's surface, yet they play a key role in ecosystems around the world.

Since the 1600s the extent of wetlands in the United States has declined.  Approximately 50% of the wetlands that were present in the lower 48 states in the 1600s are now gone (IDEM 2015).  The state of Indiana has experienced significant declines in wetlands and the Kankakee River Watershed in northern Indiana may the most impacted watershed in Indiana in terms of quantity of wetlands lost.


  • Wetlands are important for water storage, acting like a natural sponge, storing water and slowly releasing it. 

  • Wetlands act as a natural filtration system.  Because water is slowed in the wetland and forced to move in close contact with the microbes in the soil, much of the water's nutrient and pollutant load is removed by the time it leaves the wetland. 

  • Wetlands high in the landscape act to capture and filter rainwater and transmit this water into aquifers that feed our streams and wells.

  • It is common to find wetlands saturated just below the surface for more than two weeks at a time.  These dryer wetlands are more difficult to recognize, but have distinctive soil chemistry and plant species which make them valuable water quality and groundwater recharge resources.

  • Wetlands are some of the worlds most productive ecosystems, rivaling tropical rainforests in biological productivity and diversity of species.


Not all areas that flood or pond water are wetlands and not all wetlands are wet on the surface.

IDEM Fact Sheet


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