My Wetlands W.O.S.K.

I am in a new course called Wetlands and our Watersheds taught by Caren Crandell through the University of Washington Bothell. I love nature. I enjoy hikes, I actually do hug trees, and I like learning about my environment. This class even includes occasional nature walks through bogs on Saturday mornings which is far more satisfying that being inside a classroom!

One of the requirements is to create a project that displays my “WOSK” or ways of seeing and knowing (or in my definition – ways of seeking knowledge). I have always intended to start a blog and this is the perfect opportunity. I will post various things I learn myself or share with others. Welcome to my journey!

Here is the link to the WOSK: https://katieinseattle.com/category/wosk/

Let me begin by sharing the EPA’s definition of a watershed:

“A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place.” http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/whatis.cfm

We learned many different definitions of wetlands and in fact one section of the course was spent studying varying definitions of wetlands and why they may be different. The difference mostly has to do with politics and property rights – and money. Wetlands are delineated by some agencies to allow for development. But – wetland boundaries are ever changing, ever evolving and – what is beneath the surface is as important as what is on top. Again the easiest definition to share is from the EPA:

“Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season.” http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/what.cfm

Professor Caren Crandell provided an open ended definition in the course Wetlands and our Watersheds,

“Wetlands are generally distinguished by the presence of water, soil conditions (and chemistry) that differ from upland areas, and life that is adapted to these wet conditions.” (Crandell, Lecture 2, 2014)

My understanding of all of the varying definitions is that wetlands are not a specific, delineated area; but rather a set of conditions including, but not limited to hydric soils, adaptive vegetation. For example – when you see cattails, you are likely in a wetland area yet – not all wetlands have cattails.

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