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Hover over the image above to zoom in on wetland areas in the district. All of the light blue and green areas are wetlands. Download figure.

Sundew, a carnivorous wetland plant. Eden Prairie.

What is a wetland?

Wetlands are natural areas that are permanently or seasonally wet, and where the presence of this water determines soil types, plant species present, and wildlife communities that use the habitat. Wetlands include swamps, bogs, and marshes. 

Why are wetlands important?

Wetlands are an essential part of the hydrology in the Riley, Purgatory, and Bluff Creek watersheds. They provide a variety of ecosystem services, including water filtration, flood control, groundwater recharge, and wildlife habitat. Did you know that nearly half of the threatened and endangered species in the United States use wetlands at some point in their lives? Wetlands also offer important recreation and educational value.

Threats to wetlands

Historically, many wetlands were drained or filled in to make way for buildings, roads, and parking lots. As building and development continues within the Riley, Purgatory, and Bluff Creek watersheds, remaining wetlands continue to face threats. Other risks to wetland health include invasive species, water pollutants, changes to local hydrology, and climate change.


Wetland protection is regulated under the federal Clean Water Act, by Minnesota state regulations such as the MN Wetland Conservation Act, and by watershed districts and other local government organizations. To learn more about RPBCWD's regulations and permitting, click here.

What are we doing?

The RPBCWD is currently in the process of cataloging and classifying wetlands within the district. Eventually, this will help us to prioritize wetlands that may be good candidates for future restoration projects.

Learn more!