Wetlands have often been regarded as wastelands sources of mosquitoes, flies, unpleasant odors, and disease. People thought of wetlands as places to avoid or, better yet, eliminate. Largely because of this negative view, more than half of America's original wetlands have been destroyed-drained and converted to farmland, filled for housing developments and industrial facilities, or used to dispose of household and industrial waste. As people understand ecological processes better, attitudes towards wetlands change. We now know that wetlands are, in fact, valuable natural resources. Whether drier or wetter, bigger or smaller, wetlands provide important benefits to people and the environment. Wetlands help regulate water levels within watersheds; improve water quality; reduce flood and storm damages; provide important fish and wildlife habitat; and support hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities. Wetlands are natural wonderlands of great value. Reading this booklet will give you a better understanding of the rich variety of wetlands, their importance, how they are threatened, and what can be done to conserve them for future generations.