Aside from providing scenic vistas, serving recreational purposes, and fueling Delaware's ecotourism economy, wetlands have many other important functions. They clean and replenish our drinking waters, provide habitat and food for wildlife, absorb floodwaters, and protect our coasts from storm damage and sea level rise.
With 25% of Delaware's land area consisting of wetland habitat and the continual loss of wetlands due to sea level rise and development, it is important to understand how healthy our remaining wetlands are.
Although wetlands provide important ecosystem services, wetland management programs must compete with many other important issues for attention and funding from local stakeholders and decision-makers. Economic studies are often conducted to relay the value of services and resources provided by natural systems in dollar amounts.
Ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter less than 10 microns, particulate matter less than 2.5 microns, and lead are considered criteria pollutants because of their impact on human health and welfare.