Current work in wildlife, rivers, public lands, and climate
Conservation groups petition Forest Service for stronger wetland protections
“These rare wetlands are an irreplaceable, nature-based solution for climate resilience, and we hope to see the Forest Service recognize and protect them as such,” said Joanna Zhang, wild rivers advocate for WildEarth Guardians.
“It’s nearly impossible to restore the ecological function of a fen once it has been damaged, so the protection of intact fens is especially important,” she added.
While rare, fens can be found across nearly all regions in the United States. These peat-forming wetlands are fed by groundwater and take thousands of years to develop. Peatlands such as fens store approximately 44% of the world’s soil carbon, and play a vital role in storing water, preventing soil erosion, recycling nutrients, and filtering out pollutants.
Despite the critical role fens play in climate resilience, they lack the federal protections needed to remain intact and healthy in the face of threats such as groundwater alteration, pollution and other human disturbances.
The petition was submitted on October 19, 2023 under the Administrative Procedure Act and follows a comment letter the groups sent in July 2023 as part of the U.S. Forest Service’s climate resilience rulemaking process.