Wetland Installation and Restoration involves the creation or reestablishment of the hydrology, vegetation, and soils of a former or degraded wetland that has been drained, farmed, or otherwise modified from a natural state.

Bloomington, Franklin Demonstration Farm © TNC

  • How can wetlands help to protect water supplies?

    Maria Lemke • The Nature Conservancy

  • How can wetlands help to protect water supplies?

    Paulo Petry • The Nature Conservancy

Key Ideas

  • What is a wetland?

    Wetlands are areas where groundwater or surface water keeps the soils saturated for at least two weeks during the growing season.
  • Why are wetlands important?

    Wetlands perform many ecosystem services: they protect and improve water quality, provide fish and wildlife habitats, store floodwaters and maintain surface water flow during dry periods, and sequester carbon, nutrients, and sediments. Accordingly, the holistic nature of restoration of wetlands, including the reintroduction of animals, is important.
  • How are wetlands created or restored?

    Typically, a wetland is created through the excavation of upland soils to elevations that will support the growth of wetland species through the establishment of an appropriate hydrology. Wetlands may be installed or restored via this or other approaches such as removing underground drainage tiles, installing dikes, or plugging open ditches. Restoring a hydroperiod that is within a natural range of variability that is appropriate for a site and geomorphic setting is key to wetland restoration; hydric soils and hydrophytic vegetation will naturally establish and recover. The recovery rate can be improved through active planting of plugs, seeds, sod, and cuttings. Restoration of topographic heterogeneity can enhance the range of habitats resulting in a more diverse wetland. It can be useful to identify reference wetlands in similar geomorphic and climatic settings to establish clear goals for restoration. If these goals are measurable (e.g., desired species composition, richness, diversity, or function), recovery and restoration success may be monitored.


  1. Wetlands Protection and Restoration

    US Environmental Protection Agency

    Learn more
  2. Restoration Guiding Principles

    US Environmental Protection Agency

    Learn more
  3. An introduction and user’s guide to Wetland Restoration, Creation, and Enhancement

    US National Oceans and Atmospheric Agency

    Learn more
  4. National Wetlands Inventory – Wetland Classification Codes

    US Fish and Wildlife Services

    Learn more