Marshes, bogs, and swamps are areas which have a water table very close to the surface of the ground. They are areas which were formerly shallow water areas that gradually filled through nature's processes of sedimentation (often accelerated by man's activities) and the decay of shallow water vegetation.
Value to Animal & Plant Life
Although considered abysmal wastelands by many, these wet areas are extremely important to the food chain. Many species of both animal and plant life depend on this wet environment for existence. Birds and waterfowl choose these locations for nesting places. Wet areas are important as groundwater recharge areas and have tremendous flood control value.
The high-water table and poor foundation support provided by the organic soils in these areas usually prevent development on them. The extraction of peat from bogs is possible when it is accomplished in such a manner that the surrounding vegetation and wildlife is left undisturbed and the access roads and shorelines are returned to a natural state upon completion of the operation.
The potential of marshes, bogs, and swamps to provide permanent open space in urbanizing regions is high because of the costs involved in making these areas suitable for use. Unlimited public access into them, however, may cause damage to the fragile plant and animal life residing there.