For my Druidic studies I have been reading books about my local ecology. I couldn’t resist the crossover with my work with turtles, so my current read is The Ecology, Exploitation, and Conservation of River Turtles by Don Moll and Edward Moll. In there is a section on wetlands and the harm caused by draining that swamp.
There are four types of wetlands in the Adirondacks: marshes, bogs, fens, and swamps. The designations have to do with the types of soil and plants in each, but in general wetlands are wet places. Wetlands often link dry places and more defined bodies of water, such as the spongy edges of ponds, but sometimes they are just there, at least for part of the year.
Most of Dancing Turtle Rescue’s healed turtle releases happen in wetlands. I invested in a good pair of waterproof boots after having a few shoes sucked off my feet by mud while escorting turtles home. The still water is a good breeding ground for insects, so wetlands are also often buggy. Because humans usually complain about the mud and the bugs, alterations are made to make wetlands more enjoyable, such as installing walkways and treating the water with pesticides. Wetlands are also unsuitable for building, so swamp after swamp has been drained for development.
Now, thanks to all that swamp draining, we have lost some of the most biodiverse places on Earth. And turtles have lost much of the ideal habitat for hatchlings and juveniles to grow and thrive. As wetlands disappear at an alarming rate, so do turtles.
To save turtles, we need to save wetlands from alteration and development. Shrek said it better, but, seriously, get out of my swamp.