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Where can you find mosses that change landscapes, salamanders with algae in their skin, and carnivorous plants containing whole ecosystems in their furled leaves? Where can you find swamp-trompers, wildlife watchers, marsh managers, and mud-mad scientists? In wetlands, those complex habitats that play such vital ecological roles.
In Wading Right in, Catherine Owen Koning and Sharon M. Ashworth take us on a journey into wetlands through stories from the people who wade in the muck. Traveling alongside scientists, explorers, and kids with waders and nets, the authors uncover the inextricably entwined relationships between the water flows, natural chemistry, soils, flora, and fauna of our floodplain forests, fens, bogs, marshes, and mires. Tales of mighty efforts to protect rare orchids, restore salt marshes, and preserve sedge meadows become portals through which we visit major wetland types and discover their secrets, while also learning critical ecological lessons.
The United States still loses wetlands at a rate of 13,800 acres per year. Such loss diminishes the water quality of our rivers and lakes, depletes our capacity for flood control, reduces our ability to mitigate climate change, and further impoverishes our biodiversity. Koning and Ashworth's stories captivate the imagination and inspire the emotional and intellectual connections we need to commit to protecting these magical and mysterious places.
Introduction: Sun Turtles and Superstorms
1 At the Water’s Edge: From the Aquatic Zone to the Emergent Marsh
2 Wet Meadows: Not Too Dry, Not Too Wet
3 Pond-Meadow-Forest, Repeat: The Beaver’s Tale
4 Stuck in the Muck: Bogs and Fens
5 Wooded Wetlands: Basin Castles and Big-River Swamps
6 Vernal Pools: Believing in Wetlands That Aren’t Always There
7 Salt Marshes: A Disappearing Act
8 Wetland Restoration: Changing Techniques, Changing Goals, Changing Climate
9 Beauty, Ethics, and Inspiration
Catherine Owen Koning is professor of environmental science and chair of the Division of Natural Sciences at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH. She has conducted research in wetland ecology, hydrology, and plant ecology in Maine, New Hampshire, California, and Wisconsin.
Sharon M. Ashworth is an ecologist and writer based in Lawrence, Kansas. After years working in academia and for nonprofits, she now manages an Extension Master Gardener Program for Kansas State University Research and Extension.