More than four million acres of wetlands in Michigan have been lost over the past 200 years, according to a new report from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Officials says the state has lost about 40 percent of its wetlands over the course of the state’s development, with major losses in urban centers like Detroit and Saginaw. Wetland specialist Chad Fizzell says the loss in these ecosystems may result in sedimentation in waterways, and algal blooms in the Great Lakes.
“The wetlands that we’ve lost in the state were once in a place to try and capture some of those pollutants and trap them and prevent them from getting out into the Great Lakes. The effects of that loss are really a systemic cause of some of those major water quality issues that we see.”
Chad Fizzell, Wetland specialist - Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Fizzell says the rate of wetland decline has slowed since the introduction of the Michigan Wetlands Protection Act in 1979. He says this study is the first step in surveying and monitoring the quantity and quality of Michigan wetlands.