The term wetlands encompasses a wide variety of topographic conditions, including swamps, bogs, marshes, fens, pocosins, and vernal pools. The defining characteristics of all of these locations is frequent saturation (whether by saltwater or fresh), a high level of biodiversity and energy transfer, and extreme sensitivity to human interference. The Environmental Protection Act (40 CFR 230.3(t)) defines wetlands as “those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.”

Some wetland plants adapt to specific salinity-tolerance ranges in estuarine locations where fresh water meets coastal marine systems. In a Louisiana bayou, a crane installs a self-regulating tide gate ...

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