Wetlands in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough
Wetlands are an important component of the natural resources both regionally and within the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (Mat-Su). Wetlands are widespread across the region; the majority of which remain intact and undisturbed. Residents, visitors, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the state enjoy the Mat-Su for its scenery and pristine environment, which are interrelated and dependent on healthy wetlands and watersheds. Tourism, hunting, and fishing are major economic drivers for the Mat-Su. The fish and wildlife resources and related recreational opportunities of the Mat-Su are critical components in maintaining the quality of life for both residents and visitors to the region.
Benefits of Wetlands
- Open space
- Clean water
- Recreation opportunities
- Rural character
- Outdoor recreation
- Flood control
- Clean water
- Stormwater management
- Clean Water
- Flood reduction
- Erosion control
- Habitat for moose, salmon, and waterfowl
- Groundwater recharge and purification
Wetlands and the activities they support are key to the sustainability of the Mat-Su’s economy, lands, and communities.
Wetlands provide many important benefits to our residents, visitors, business owners, and the wildlife that share our community.
A Major Land Type in Alaska
Less than 5 percent of the U.S. consists of wetlands. However, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Alaska contains approximately 63 percent of the nation’s wetlands. Most of the state’s freshwater wetlands (around 100 million acres) are peatlands; however, the state also has marshes, bogs, fens, tundra, and meadows. Another 75 million acres are tidal wetlands and coastal estuaries. Alaska has lost approximately 200,000 acres of wetlands to development activities.
In the Mat-Su, there are 11 wetland types described on the “Identifying Wetlands” page. According to the MSB Wetland Management Plan, approximately 25 percent of lands in the Mat-Su are wetlands. Long considered wastelands in need of draining and/or filling, wetlands are now recognized as highly specialized and functional components of our area and need to be managed and protected.