News Brief

Norton Claims Increase in Wetlands

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counted golf course water hazards as wetlands in its most recent survey.

Photo: Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Gale Norton, outgoing secretary of the interior, announced in March 2006 an increase in the nation’s area of wetlands. Although more than 500,000 acres (202,000 ha) of swamps and tidal marshes were lost between 1998 and 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found a 200,000-acre (81,000 ha)

net increase in wetlands, due to the fact that it counted golf course water hazards, ornamental ponds, stormwater systems, and mine reclamation ponds. “Open water systems do not have the same biological diversity or functions and values as wetlands,” says Julie Sibbing, National Wildlife Federation wetlands specialist. Calling Norton’s report “pure spin,” Sibbing notes that “the majority opinion is that the nation is still hemorrhaging wetlands.”

Published May 3, 2006

Boehland, J. (2006, May 3). Norton Claims Increase in Wetlands. Retrieved from

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