The Wonders of Wetlands
Great Blue Heron by K.P. Wilska
Our Historical Interaction
Let's Explore Our Complicated History With Wetlands
Join us as we continue our exploration of the wonderful world of wetlands!
What is the history of man’s love/hate relationship with wetlands? Wetlands have a checkered past in the U.S. Since European settlement began in the 1600s, wetlands have been viewed as wasteland to be “improved” and converted for farming, ranching, and urban development. As a result, more than 50% of wetlands in the contiguous U.S. have been drained, filled, or otherwise eliminated.
Over the past hundred years, scientists have gained a better appreciation of the intrinsic value that wetlands provide, but it has been only in the last 50 to 60 years that attitudes toward them have begun to change. During that time, efforts to protect and preserve wetlands began in earnest, with laws passed to protect and restore them. Somewhere along the way, we finally recognized that wetlands are truly the kidneys of the world and are critical to the survival of waterfowl and other wildlife.
In our second foray into the wonders of wetlands, we will investigate why this valuable resource is beneficial from a historical aspect, why we should love them today — and why they continue to remain controversial.
About Pete McKone
For more than 30 years, Pete McKone, CWB, has served in the capacity of wildlife biologist and environmental scientist on projects throughout the United States. Certified as a Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society, he has focused on stream and wetland restoration, wildlife biology, and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessments. He has performed numerous wetland delineations and mitigation plans, threatened and endangered species studies, erosion control plans, and feasibility studies. He is currently a senior project director with Weaver Consultants Group LLC.
Pete has conducted numerous seminars on riparian/wetland restoration, wetland delineation, 404 permitting, and energy-related issues. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at Texas Christian University for wetland delineation, stream and wetland restoration, and other habitat and environmental subjects. A frequent speaker and author on topics such as wetland delineation and mitigation, natural habitat issues, environmental guidelines for land development, and tree identification, he has served on the North Central Texas Interagency Stream Team and participated in stream restoration workshops throughout the state (including design of stream restoration projects, implementation of stream and wetland restoration techniques in classroom settings, and teaching of vegetative management techniques). He is the current president of the Friends of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge and resides in Fort Worth.