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Wetlands: filter and food web
Wetlands are areas of land where soil is saturated with water at least part of the year during the growing season. Plants in wetlands and cienegas are adapted to living in soil that has water instead of air in its pore spaces. Examples of New Mexico include wet meadows and marshlands. Cienegas are wetland-like areas that are spring-fed and do not rely on precipitation.
Wetlands are one of the most important ecosystems in a watershed because they support a large variety of species and are the basis of many food webs. They also filter sediment and pollutants. With shallow water, wet soils and a high level of nutrients, wetlands provide an ideal ecosystem for many creatures, especially if there is a buffer zone of vegetation between wetlands and other activities such as agriculture, urban development or industry. Communities can moderate flooding, reduce water pollution, and restore wildlife habitat by preserving natural wetlands and installing constructed wetlands.


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