Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

What are wetlands?

Wetlands are transitional areas, sandwiched between permanently flooded deepwater environments and well-drained uplands, where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water. They include mangroves, marshes (salt, brackish, intermediate, and fresh), swamps, forested wetlands, bogs, wet prairies, prairie potholes, and vernal pools. In general terms, wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface. The single feature that most wetlands share is soil or substrate that is at least periodically saturated with or covered by water.

Learn more: USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

Related Content