Recognizing the Importance of Wetland Monitoring on World Wetlands Day

Abby Smith
Abby Smith
2 Minute Read
Feb 2, 2023
February 2nd is World Wetlands Day, and it's as good a time as any to reflect on the importance of these special ecosystems. Learn how insights from earth observation can complement on-the-ground assessments by shedding light on wetland conditions in other ways.

By definition, wetlands are areas where water covers the soil for at least part of the year. Healthy wetlands are critical to humans and non-humans alike. They’re biodiversity hotspots that provide a home to nesting herons, sunning turtles, swaying cattails, and many more. Wetlands protect communities from the harshest effects of major flood events and supply clean water. But despite all these benefits, they are increasingly threatened as a result of urban expansion, agricultural conversion, pollution, invasive species, and more.

Many organizations are taking bold steps to conserve and restore these vulnerable wetland ecosystems. To ensure that these efforts are yielding the expected outcomes, monitoring is key. Consistent and timely information about wetlands helps identify risks early so they can be avoided, and creates opportunities to learn what restoration actions are most effective.   

Monitoring the health of wetland environments today often requires field visits, soil samples, species surveys, hydrological assessments, and more. Gathering this nuanced data is time-consuming, but consistent wetland monitoring is critical in understanding how these fragile and dynamic ecosystems are changing over time. Despite rapid advancements in remote sensing technology, some of these questions simply can’t be answered with remote data alone. 

Instead, insights from earth observation can complement on-the-ground assessments by shedding light on wetland conditions in other ways. For example, frequent data from public satellites can showcase trends over seasons or years, such as how surface water extent fluctuates. And if wetland ecologists can’t conduct field visits more than once per year, satellite or aerial data can be a great way to triage unexpected changes on the ground, such as damage after a flood.

If your organization is working to protect or restore wetlands, we’d love to connect and see how Lens might be able might support your work. Book a meeting with one of our experts to learn more or send us a message at To view our pricing and to get started today, head over to our plans page.

Coastal wetlands in Louisiana, imagery copyright USDA NAIP 2019
Wetland restoration site in Massachusetts, USDA NAIP 2018 Surface Water index image, with ESA Sentinel-2 data points in chart

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