Fast Facts / Wetland Benefits

Wetland Benefits

Coastal wetlands—our natural defenses—help protect coastlines by acting as a permeable barrier that slows waves and surge through friction and reduces flooding.

20% Fewer Damages

A year-long assessment said areas behind existing salt marshes have, on average, 20 percent fewer property damages when compared to areas where salt marshes have been lost.

$200 Billion Payout

In the last 10 years, insurers paid more than $200 billion for coastal damages from storms globally.

50% Wetland Loss

Wetlands have been lost at alarming rates across the northeastern U.S. New York alone has lost 50 percent of its wetlands on Long Island Sound during the past 130 years.

$625 Million in Damages Prevented

Research from The Nature Conservancy says coastal wetlands prevented more than $625 million in property damages during Hurricane Sandy and reduced property damages throughout the Northeast by 10 percent on average.

In New Jersey alone, wetlands saved more than $425 million in property damages. In Maryland, wetlands reduced damages by 29 percent.

Greatest Risk

Properties built on previously existing wetlands, and properties at low elevations, face the greatest risk from flooding. These at-risk properties often derive the greatest protective benefits from coastal wetland conservation efforts.

Upstream Benefits from Downstream Wetlands

With Hurricane Sandy, some places with few wetlands within their boundaries nevertheless benefited from the cumulative surge reduction provided by downstream wetlands.

Wetland benefits graphic stating that $625 million in damages are prevented
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Source: The Nature Conservancy Report: Role of Coastal Habitats in Managing Natural Hazards