For almost a decade, developers have been required by federal law to create 1.78 acres of wetlands for every acre they destroy. Sounds great, but a new study by Washington State’s Department of Ecology found that only about 13 percent of 24 replacement wetlands in the state are successful. Wetlands-protection rules were established to protect watershed health, provide critical habitat, and reduce danger from flooding, but most of Washington’s artificial wetlands failed to provide the benefits of natural ones, either due to poor design or poor maintenance. Conservationists say the findings support the case for protecting wetlands from destruction in the first place.
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