Wetlands and the floodplains they are often located within are the structure for a river, they are essential for river health, its biological abundance, and to provide the buffer for the inevitable flooding. They provide many other valuable benefits to us as well. If you value rivers, you must value their floodplains. Our large rivers have been extensively altered to develop barge navigation on them through the construction of locks and dams and channelization. Their floodplains have been leveed off to allow them to be converted for industrialized agriculture. Wetlands have been extensively drained. Huge reservoirs have been created through the building of massive dams, flooding vast areas along the river. The river commons and its immense ecosystem services have been largely lost to the public, but the high costs to maintain this artificial system remain the public burden. Restoring our rivers, including their floodplains and wetlands, is not just essential for a healthy environment, but for a healthy economy as well.
Missouri River Channelization, USACE