Everybody has a podcast, all right, every celebrity, everybody you knew in college, there are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there and yeah, it's a bit of a mess.
I'm Nick Clock and my new show, Servant of Pod. We'll give you the most interesting and important stories in podcasting. And I'll tell you why you should care to listen to serve in a pod on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast.
My name is Langston Karmin, and I'm a black man who loves conspiracy theories. That's why I, along with the beautiful oppressor's that I heart radio and big money players, have a brand new podcast called My Mama Told Me where each week me and a special guest will explore all the twisted conspiracies that the white man is keeping secret. So listen to my mama told me available on the radio app, Apple podcast or anywhere else, that podcast. Doo doo doo doo.
We have a book coming out, and we would love it if you bought it. That's right. That'll be great. It's called stuff you should know, Colin, and that's it. Just Colan.
OK, I think there's a little bit more to it, and I'll be the one to say it then. It's called an incomplete compendium of mostly interesting things. And the title is just a flat out lie because it's all interesting, Chuck. It is. And it's a really fun book we're really proud of. It's got great illustrations from our new friend, Carly Manado. It was co-written with us with a great guy named Nils Barker. And the team all came together to produce something that we're just super, super proud of.
That's right. So you can order it everywhere you buy books. Preorder now and we appreciate you.
Welcome to Stuff You Should Know, a production of NPR Radio's HowStuffWorks. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh and there's Charles and Jerry's over there, and this is stuff you should know, the dripping wet edition and these wetlands. What I knew that you would not get that.
Is that a Sieger reference? Oh, gosh.
Why do you have to say, Sieger, when you always mean Springsteen? Was that Springsteen? You know, Badlands. OK, baby.
These wetlands were born to run. Sure. Run water. I don't I don't like myself anymore. Running water.
That was a great save, Chuck. Thanks. So we're talking wetlands. I have to say, we have to give a shout out to Tom Peterman, the foul mouthed wetland biologist who keeps asking us to do this episode. I was that where this came from? It was Tom Peterman suggestion, although I had already wanted to do it anyway.
So, yeah, I mean, we love our science. And this one was I was just smiling from ear to ear this.
Can you imagine watching a blacksmith forge something in a wetland in a flooded woodland?
Now, I just found out right there really is. So we're talking about wetlands, everybody. And Dave Ru's helped us put this one together. And Dave likes to pop in jokes every once in a while. And he say, does he said, what makes a wetland wet water? And then he says, in all seriousness, that's basically it, that the water has to be largely present at least some parts of the year in the soil in such amounts that you would call something wetland.
I mean, think of the name wetland. It's about as earthy a term as science gets. Yeah.
And he front loaded this with a few stats and I won't go through all of them, but I'll go through a few that I kind of are instructive as to why I love wetlands so much. Here's one other wetlands make up only five percent of the land surface in the United States. They are home to 31 percent of our plant species.
Yeah, not bad. One third of America is threatened or endangered species. Species live only in wetlands.
I would propose that that's slightly misleading. I think they're endangered because they live in wetlands and wetlands are endangered, as we'll see.
Hmm. Mm hmm. Think about it, Chuck. I don't know. I took it more as. Like they're all hiding out in the wetlands because it's a terrible place to hide out. No, it's not bad because it's got 31 percent of the plant species. I mean, it's a pretty rich, biodiverse area to live in if you're an endangered species for sure. All right. You know, I say tomato.
Well, we'll have to hear from Thomas Peterman, the foul mouthed wildlife for wetland biologist who can let us know what does he say?
Like, do you find wetlands already? Yes, that kind of thing. Yeah, I like this guy. I think that's an exact quote. Yeah, he's my kind of dude.
So another step that I thought was pretty interesting that, well, just kind of needs to form the basis of the undercurrent of this whole episode, is that so we keep talking about the U.S. There's wetlands found all over the world of different types and varieties and different climates and different different continents, every continent except Antarctica. But in the United States in particular, we have a long history of filling in and in draining wetlands for other purposes. Yeah, so much so that let's see, I believe I don't know how much we've lost, but in the 6500 in the lower 48 states were covered with 220 million acres of wetlands, which is 11 percent of the total surface area of the lower 48 states.
And I think starting in the 50s, we were doing away with wetlands at a rate of about 60000 of those acres per year.
Yeah, and it's gotten better since then. But yeah, in the boy, up until the Clean Water Act, it was just like, hey, you know, it look great there.
A resort, right, with like three golf courses and a bunch of tennis that's been such a driving force. Like it's it's like looking at land or ecosystems would be like, are humans making money off of it? No. Well, then drain it and repurpose it, set it on fire and repurpose it. Stop it from burning and repurpose it. Like if we can't make money off of it, it can't possibly be useful. And luckily, since the environmental movement really started in the 70s, we've realized that that's not necessarily true, that even if you are just a heartless dummy, there's still a lot of benefits that humanity is given from things like wetlands that seem problematic or non-productive, you know.
Yeah, that was one of Dangerfield's big lines in Caddyshack as well.
Savic It was a golf courses and cemeteries are two biggest waste of prime real estate. That's a good one.
So let's talk about wetlands. He said that they are only some of them are only wet for short periods sometimes when there's snowmelt or just rain.
Yeah, those are called ephemeral wetlands, which is a cool term. It's a great term.
Some are wet all the time. And the key parts of being a wetland are the key characteristic is that it's either permanently or periodically flooded or wet and that the soil is got it's called Heidrick soil and is dominated by anaerobic processes, meaning it loves water.
And the plants there love water, which is weird because you used another word that shouldn't really jibe with plants, and that's called anaerobic, which means there's very little to no oxygen present. And we'll explain why later. But the fact that there are plants means that those plants have adapted to the wetlands. Yes.
And it makes them anaerobic conditions hydrophilic. And we'll talk about those plants later. It's another another thing I love about wetlands is just that it really underscores the remarkable evolution that something will go through to survive. Very cool. Very, very awesome.
Yeah. So there's also so you hit upon something like they're not necessarily wet year round. Right? Right. So there's a whole bunch of different types of wetlands or wetland environments that fill those that check those boxes. One of the ones that most people think of when they think of wetlands or coastal wetlands like marshes in a marsh is basically like this area between England and the ocean. It's like a transition zone, a buffer zone. And because it's because of its proximity to the ocean, it's usually salty or at least brackish, which is a mixture of saltwater and freshwater.
And one of the one of the ones that really comes to mind, if you're thinking coastal wetlands, you're thinking marshlands and you're thinking tidal marshlands, probably especially if you're a Pat Conroy fan.
What was the name of a. Her character that he repeats over and over in a whisper, I think I remember Chuck, it was Bobby, Jim, Bobby, Jim. This is one of those scream at the at the pod player moments.
Was it and was it in the Prince of Tides? Yeah, Lowenstein was at it.
You're sure it wasn't Bobby Jim? I think it was Lovinsky. Was it his always shrinks his shrink girlfriend's name. Yeah.
Bab's OK. Yeah. I don't remember who he was. Lowenstein. All right. So anyway, tidal marshes. Yes. Prince of Tides, they obviously it's because their title, they're going to come in and out with the high and low tide. And like you said, they are generally water and the salt marshes are very nutrient rich and they do have a lot of diversity, but obviously only the kind of things that can tolerate the salt as far as plants and animals go, which is a pretty short list, really, because salt is not conducive to life.
Instead, there are some plants that have figured out how to deal with salt. But most of the time when you're looking at salt marshes, you're looking for the plant. Life is is basically grasses of some sort. Right. There's also a freshwater tidal marshes, which they are either connected to the saltwater marsh, but they're far enough inland that the saltwater. Does it make its way in there. So it's a freshwater marsh, but it's still affected by the tides.
And then I had no idea about this and I used to vacation on Lake Erie. But apparently the Great Lakes are so big that they have tides themselves. You didn't know that? I had no idea.
I even knew that no dumdum when it comes to the Great Lakes. Well, Chuck, I think you got me beat big time. Well, in this case, because I could know a million other things about the Great Lakes. And if you knew that one thing and I didn't, you have me beat. Yeah, I knew that. And so that means that they do have those tidal marshes. The Florida Everglades are another good example. And boy, Florida just there's a lot of different types of wetlands in Florida.
Well, there's a lot of coastline. Yeah, a lot of coastline and a lot of interior wetness.
Yeah, we have a lot of wetlands around our place in Florida for sure. There's mangroves and all sorts of stuff that we'll talk a lot as well.
We're at mangroves. I love those things. So mangroves, beautiful. I think they at least deserve a short stuff because they're one of the most amazing plants of all time. But there they are a they're a type of coastal coastal wetland themselves, the mangrove forest where if you've never seen a mangrove forest there, these kind of they have a growth habit for their the shrubbery on top of like the hair that Umpa Lupa has in the original the original Willy Wonka, the good one.
And they're the the trunks split out into these cool, like, long roots and legs that stick up out of the water. And they form this huge tangle, this right of like shrub, woody, shrub. And they do all sorts of amazing things to help the aquatic life and as humans as well up on land just by being present.
Yeah, they're really cool looking.
And this is another good one, sort of like the origami that if you're able and you're sitting still to look up a lot of these things as you go, because these mangrove forests, it looks like it looks like a shrub that's like I really want to be a shrub, but I don't want to get wet.
So I'm just going to dip my legs in a little bit.
Yeah, that's really great. It's just very cool looking. And again, just the adaptability that these mangroves really want to live where they live, even though it's not very suited for them and they become suited for it.
Right. If you've been sleeping on mangroves, welcome to reality.
But it's a T-shirt shirt, if I ever heard one. Yeah.
And so I could use a little work. But there's there's the beginnings of one in there.
You also got your inland wetlands. These are not coastal in this case. We're talking about swamps and marshes and bogs and fense, FBN and marshes. A lot of these you'll find near rivers, near streams, lowland depressions, and they might periodically fill up depending on rain, what's going on or different types of flooding that might happen. And they can be a few inches deep. They can be several feet deep.
Yeah, most of the non tidal inland marshes are ephemeral wetlands. Yeah. So they're dry a lot of the year. They might fill up seasonally, they might fill up with the rains, they might fill up with the nearby river flooding. It's like my backyard and they are really. Is that right.
Yeah, it doesn't drain. Well I've got a drainage problem OK to you. It's a problem to nature. It's wonderful because we'd like things that drain really quickly and dry and then we can walk on them and the grass is fine but. There's a lot of like benefits to things that take their time, like there's something called the vernal pool, which is a kind of non tidal marsh, an ephemeral wetland, and it's basically just like a stretch of woods that it's a little bit depressed there so that when it rains or a river floods, it fills with water.
And because the underlying bedrock or clay is not very porous, it takes a while for that water to go through. But that water is also not going further downstream. So it prevents flooding from being as bad as it could because a lot of the water collects and stays there and it also slowly recharges the groundwater. And because it does get dry, it can't sustain fish, which makes it a really great nursery for things like newts and salamanders and frogs, things that the fish eat their eggs.
But since there's no fish, this is like a really great place for them to get a good foothold and a brand new life.
You've also got your prairie potholes. This is one you should definitely look up. These are usually in the upper Midwest of the United States, the Dakotas, Minnesota, maybe Wisconsin. And these are where glaciers, ancient glaciers left these big depressions in the landscape. And they fill up sometimes during rain during the spring, during snowmelt. And they're not small, like a prairie pothole. And I got a vision in my head. But if you look it up online, they're beautiful and they're very large, though, and they're kind of interconnected, just these big round holes scattered through like a big open area full of water.
And these are great for migrating birds because that could be a stopover that they might not have had had those potholes not been there. Mm hmm.
And when they're flying over the Dakotas, they say, look, I see Van Nostrand house or Buddy being astronaut.
And then there's also we said that that wetlands occur in all different kinds of climates. They also occur in the desert. There's something called Playa Lakes, which are these depressions that apparently no one has any idea exactly how they formed. It could have been from erosion. It could have been from an ancient sinkhole. But there are depressions that are deep enough that when the seasonal rains come, the water is held in there. And just like the prairie potholes, it's very useful for migratory birds to stop over and can really plays a huge role in this ecosystem where there's almost no water.
Now, all of a sudden there's water and it's in this nice little lake. So let's all go gather there and have social hour. But but but responsibly. Six feet apart. That's right. Okay.
I think we should take a break. And we will talk a little bit about inland swamps right after this. High people to get here, maybe you know me as mayor in my new podcast, I'll be talking to people from every field whose ideas and actions will shape an era that is about to begin.
We can take this time and use it in a way to bring people together.
When people protest in a courtroom, that means they still love it enough, but they still believe change is what.
I have hope that we are actually going to figure out how to allow people to be free hearted, free thinkers.
Listen to the deciding decade on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
What if you could learn from one of the world's most inspiring women, now you can introducing Senecas 100 women to hear a new podcast brought to you by Seneca Women and I Heart Radio. I'm Kim Azorella. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of American women getting the vote, we're bringing you the voices of a hundred groundbreaking and history making women listen to Senecas 100 women to hear on the radio app Apple podcasts wherever you get your podcasts. All right, so Ellen Swamp's, we promised to talk about that these are for my money, some of the coolest areas in the country because I think I talked about it at some point, but I took a very special fun trip many, many years ago to the Okefenokee Swamp and did one of those canoe trips where you have to rent.
You know, there's no place to stop in the Okefenokee Swamp, if you like. I think I'll camp here. It's like in the water. All right. So they had these camping pads built up, essentially just decks that are like six feet above the water. And you have to reserve those. They're not just wide open for anyone because there's nothing else out there. So you have to reserve them for specific nights on these specific pathways or, you know, paddle ways.
And me and a couple of buddies did it one year and we canoed from from deck to deck and very cool. It was amazing. Like one of the coolest trips I've ever taken that is very cool was Ned Beatty with, you know.
But you do wake up surrounded by alligators.
It's a little creepy. Yes. Alligators are very creepy.
Like you wake up on that pad and pee off the dock and they're growling at you. Yeah.
And you do not want to get too close because they can move faster than you think.
Yeah, they can.
It was it was a lot of fun, but not for the faint of heart because, you know, you don't realize till you get out there a how bad the sun is going to beat you up because there's no shade and B, how tough it is to paddle all day long without, like, you know, let me get out and stretch my legs.
Right. I mean, there is no getting out. You just you just go and go and go. And by the time you finally reach that Janki deck, it is like might as well be the Plaza Hotel, you know.
Oh, nice. But what I'm talking about in the case of the Okefenokee, I thought it was a forested or a bottom bottomland hardwood swamp, you'd think from reading this.
But apparently it's called the non riverine swamp forest. Right. And that is a forested swamp that fills up from non river sources, basically rain or groundwater. Right. Right.
So that would make a forested swamp like a bottomland. Hardwood swamp is a proximity to a river that floods its banks or that is just so, so big. It kind of spills over into some of the surrounding land. And that surrounding land is swamp.
I want to look that up, though. I'm not quite sure Dave's right. Well, it's OK. It's so it's either verified or groundwater fed or precipitations fed. And if you're talking bottomland hardwood swamps that or river fed swamp, there's usually also a shrub swamp, which is a transition or buffer zone between the forested swamp and, you know, somebody's backyard, which is it's just dominated by shrubs. But it's all the same thing. It's all freshwater swamp.
I think I bet you anything. The Okefenokee has several different types of these would be my guess, because there were full on lakes that we paddled through. Yeah. So that would be my guess. And I also think if I had a country band they would, we would be the bottomland hardwood swamp rats.
Oh that's a good one. I bet that sounds like an all star band, you know. Oh sure. Yeah. So another kind of wetland that you're going to find all over the place, especially in Europe, which when I think of bogs and fense, I think of Europe. But apparently there are plenty of them in the United States too. But bogs and fins are kind of their own thing. Bogs in particular are very unique as far as wetlands go, because not only are they anaerobic, which by definition a wetland is anaerobic soil, they're like very little nutrient and very high acidity.
I've heard like the kind of acid that is put out by the peat that's created in the bog has the same acidity, roughly, of vinegar. I was like, yeah, it's really, really acidic stuff. And yet some plants prefer it. Like you can grow cranberries and blueberries in the bogs or you can preserve a body from the Iron Age forward. Did we ever cover that?
The bog bodies, if feel like we did, maybe it might've been one of our video things on YouTube, maybe mummies, because I think if I remember correctly, our mummy episode covered more than just Egyptian mummies is covered like Inca mummies and the bog people. I'm sure we did. We saw some of them when we went to our UK trip.
We got to visit some of those cats, like firsthand, like right there in that in that glass. Right. Like, you know, all you do is smash it with a hammer and it's you you've got a bug person. Yeah.
Release whatever you can grab like a bug. You're right. Crumbles in your hand. But I was like I was like, OK, why, why are the the the bugs so great for preservation. Part of it, from what I understand, is that acidity that the bodies are actually pickled. But another part is the the Arabic life. So devoid there, there's just anaerobic bacteria and they don't decompose nearly as well as aerobic bacteria. So the decomposition doesn't set in and the remains are pickled.
So you can preserve a body in a really great state. Yeah. For a very like Tolland man, you his whiskers are still intact on his face. Yeah, like that was the level of preservation. And he was sacrificed into a bog, which is a very specific kind of wetland.
Yeah. And a fan, like I said, it's Effy and it's sort of like a bog in that it is a peat wetland, but they're a little bit different than bogs. The water supply doesn't come primarily from rain and it comes from the ground. So it's not it's going to be less acidic because I don't think we mentioned mentioned I know it's partially because of the peat, but the acidity also comes from the fact that there's acid and rain that gets filling up that fills up these bogs.
Right. But that's not the case in OFFIN. No, no. Because that groundwater is able to kind of dilute it a little bit. So they're much more nutrient rich than a Boggis. So they're going to have much a much wider, diverse range of plants and animal life.
Yeah, and I love this next section from day was called Other Fun Types of Wetlands. Yeah.
Mudflats. Yeah. You get your mudflat. It's another good country band and my favorite are Seeps.
These are just gorgeous little pieces of nature if you ask me. It's if you have a spring that comes up out of the ground, it spills over into the ground. So the surrounding ground is a wetland and it's called the SEIP. That's right. It's where nome's like go and shower.
Yeah. And it's not like you said, it's a spring. So it's not like a creek. No, it's actually coming up from the ground. You ever drink from a natural spring.
I did when I was a kid, and again, my mom fired the babysitter that took us to drink from the spring. Yeah, who she was like, what are you doing? It was either spring or like a river in Ohio.
And either way, two very different things. If it was like a Cuyahoga River, then you're in bad shape. It was on fire while we were drinking. But I mean, we have creeks. If you're listening. You've never been to Atlanta. Atlanta has creeks all over the place, like all of the entire neighborhoods just are riddled with creeks. They're just sort of out of you. But like, we have a creek, you know, hundred and twenty feet from our house.
Sure. Which might have something to do with our drainage. You knows. And it's Springford know.
It's just, you know, just a part of the Atlanta probably all comes from the Chattahoochee at some point. Sure.
So Chuck, if that creek behind your house sort of meandering in a different direction and left a body of water where it originally flowed, it would be an oxbow lake. But if you were in Australia and you were calling it its proper Aboriginal name, you'd call it a billabong, a billabong, which I had no idea. What does that have to do with surfing?
Oh, I think they just probably co-opted the name and it became more associated with surf and turf gear than in its true meaning. That doesn't seem right now. Let's take it back.
But that's what an oxbow lake is in Australia. Among the Aborigines. It is a billabong which is great.
And Billabong that was some like along with OPIS was one of the prime T-shirts to have when you were a kid in the 80s. Oh yeah.
If you were cool, I had this amazing opis long sleeve shirt that I wore with my parachute pants. Those were the best. My British knights.
I remember those long sleeve opie shirts. Yeah, they were good. Gorgeous.
So check one of the things we've been talking about is the kind of the characteristics that make a wetland, a wetland. It's not just the fact that the soil table or the ground is either flooded or almost completely flooded up to the surface level with water. That's that's not the entirety of it. Like different wetlands are characterised by by how that water gets to it. Like we said, you know, some kinds of swamps are fed by groundwater. Others are fed by precipitation.
Some are tidal. So there's a whole group of scientists out there that are called wetland hydrologists. And what they study is how that water gets into a wetland to create a wetland. What happens to it while it's there and then where it goes and how all these things can interact to form this very unique ecosystem.
Yeah, and we talked to early on about the kind of soil Heidrick soil is saturated with water. And so if it's saturated with water, it's not going to have nearly as much oxygen and usually oxygen and soil or in these little tiny air pockets. Remember we talked about in our soil episode? Yeah, exactly.
And in the case of a wetland and those air pockets are going to be filled with water or just collapsed altogether. And then you've got your anaerobic condition. But if you're plant, you need CO2 and oxygen and you'll get a little bit of that from photosynthesis in the leaves. But the roots are like, what about me down here? I need oxygen, too. And if it was an aerobics oil, like we talked about in in the Soil podcast, the roots can get it from those air pockets.
But in wetlands, they have to really, really adapt to become hydrophilic or water loving plants and some pretty amazing ways.
So I just have to say that this is like a lifelong mystery solved and solved in like the simplest way possible. Like it's anaerobic because there's water there instead of air. The air can't be in there because the water's there ipso facto anaerobic. I just I just think that's brilliantly simple. Yeah. Did you get that intuitively? Because I never did. I always thought it was something mysterious. Like we're talking about a whole different type of soil or something else.
Mm. No, I think I got it.
OK, well it was I've been around for 44 years and wondered it until just now.
Well I'm forty nine so I might have learned that in the last five years.
So the plants that we're talking about, like, like you said the roots still need oxygen. So they said OK, well I really like it here. I like this wetland area. This is pretty amazing place to live. I'm going to change so that I can stay here. And some of the ways that plants have have adapted well. One good example is a cat tail, right? Cattails are pretty much synonymous with marshlands. Yeah, they're beautiful.
They're that long, thin stem with like a big fat thing on top, like a hot dog that's ready to be roasted on the fire.
Yeah, I grew up with those. I don't know if it was a southern thing, but they can be decorative items in the home. And I grew up, I feel like with a lot of cat tails in faeces and stuff.
OK, so that in in wasps nest. Yeah. Hornet's nest. Yeah. So cartels have this thing called air and Nick, you know, I've got Erin Nicam.
Er, er in a coma, er in a coma, I think I got it anyway, they're like these, these channels that basically direct er from the leaves in the stem and every other part of the cattail down to the roots says here you go, here's some oxygen fresh from the leaf. Yeah. So that cattail can have as much roots as it wants down in this anaerobic soil. It doesn't matter because it's getting its oxygen from the air through the leaves.
Yeah. One of my favorites is the Speckled Alder. Uh, you just look up a picture of that and they have these enlarged pores called Linta Sills and they allow for the passage of oxygen directly into that wood. And if you look up a picture and you see those, you go, oh, that's what those are. That's what those are for. They look like someone took a knife and they're just tiny little horizontal slits all up and down the older, I guess.
And it's their breathing basically.
Yeah, that's creepy as heck, but it's like a really neat little mouse, little slit mouths.
So ah, the, the grasses that we talked about growing in salt marshes just like an iguana, sneezers our excess salts as part of digestion, things like cord grass that grow in these salt marshes, they actually excrete salts through their leaves so they can sit there and take all the nutrients they need from this Zelenik environment and still not get overloaded with salt. It's just pretty amazing that they can do that.
Yeah. And then to me, maybe the most amazing and this is where the mangroves kind of come back in, although the mangroves apparently utilise all these to stick around. But the bald cypress, they grow in those forested swamps where there's always water and they are deciduous conifers and they grow this root structure that they kalani. It's a new metaphor, but like a knee on your leg is how it's spelled. And they just sit above the waterline and take an oxygen.
And that's what those I guess, mangroves, mangroves. There's a Soul Train joke in there somewhere.
Yeah. It struck me is like a terrible jam bands the Mengers. Yeah. God you're right. Yeah. That plays somewhere in Florida. Probably. Probably. But the mangrove uses, like I said, a lot of these tricks.
And I think certainly when you see those roots they're using those knees.
Yeah. Which is basically it's a it's a it's a way to get oxygen from the surrounding air down to the roots. The mangroves do it, the bald cypress is the mangroves have all those adapt adaptations. Different species think they can do things like excrete salt, they can draw oxygen in from the environment. They have channels where they can pump oxygen from one part of the plant to the other. The one that gets me, though, I'm just fascinated by box.
So we said that there it's an acidic, anaerobic, nutrient depleted environment and yet there's still plants that live there. And one of those plants or one kind of plane is carnivorous plants. They get their nutrients not from the soil, but from eating bugs. Yeah, those are cool. So they can just live there like a pitcher plant or a Venus flytrap or something like that. Yeah, those are neat nature.
Wasn't Venus Flytrap one of the giant carp? That's a great deal, Jamie. Yeah, he well he was a great D.J..
All right. So let's take our final break and we'll talk about why wetlands are important and what you can do to help them do their thing right after this.
Oh. Hi, guys, welcome to the first meeting last year with Shadowboxer, partners are having a moment. Everybody has a podcast. All right, every celebrity, everybody you knew in college, every family member at least once, there are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there. Yeah, it's a bit of a mess. So I figured, what the heck, what's Woodmore, I'm Nicoya about you show Civita Pod, we'll give you the most interesting and important stories of podcasting.
We'll talk to producers, entertainers and journalists. We'll talk to bigwigs and we'll talk to independent creators. Servanda part. We'll give you a sense of what's happening in a growing world of podcasts and more importantly, why you should care.
Listen to serve in a pod on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.
I'm Holly Frying. And I'm Maria FreeMarkets. And together we're exploring the margins of history and specifically at the intersection of history and true crime.
Welcome to the Criminally, a podcast. Our first season of the show is all about lady poisoners, and the history has not been kind to ladies.
Women have been marginalized. They've been vilified. They're falsely accused and often just plain misunderstood time and time again. But sometimes women take power for themselves and sometimes they do it through murder.
Some of these women absolutely were guilty, but some of them were probably labeled as criminals. But that was not the case. And all of them were viewed through society's lens, sitting at this intersection of being both killers and the fairer sex. But how many were just misunderstood? Listen to criminality on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.
OK, Chuck, so just the fact that wetlands are as amazing as they are means that they should be saved. But there's also like a lot of benefits that we figured out. Like you said, the 50s to the 70s were really rough time for wetlands in the United States because we were filling them in for cropland, for real estate. And even previous to that, we filled in a lot of marshland in the U.S. and built cities from like DC was built largely on marshland.
The fact that mosquitoes tend to live in wetland areas kind of justified filling in a lot of the wetlands because we were dealing with malaria at the time. So it made a lot of sense. Get rid of the mosquitoes habitat. You get rid of the mosquitoes. And it worked. But we've paid a heavy price for it because over time we've realized these wetlands provide some really important benefits to to the local ecosystems and in turn humans who live around them.
Yeah, I mean, helping flood conditions is a big one. They are big, big natural sponges when it comes down to it. And flooding would be way, way worse. And we still have floods, obviously, but it'd be way worse if we didn't have wetlands. They'd be far more destructive if they weren't around to soak in that excess water and then kind of slowly trickle it to the water table below. And the same is obviously true of hurricanes and big storm surges.
The wetlands basically operate as big storage tanks for water.
Yeah, I saw somewhere I can't find it now, but it's like, oh, there it is. An acre of wetlands can hold up to about a million and a half gallons of water. Yeah, just just one acre. So you got to think like that water staying put there and it's not flooding some human habitation instead, which is a good reason to keep wetlands around just for that that buffer area or to slow down the surge like you were saying.
I also saw that we found out the same thing goes for beaver dams that they built there like a temporary artificial wetland. And they provide a lot of the same functions, that natural or other, I guess, naturally occurring or growing wetlands provide to. I think we should do a whole episode on Beavers, OK?
Oh, totally. Way into beavers. So water filtration is and is another is a way. I'm getting you back for the Oregon. All right. So water filtration is as another big service that wetlands provide. I don't remember where we talked about this, but we talked about it recently where the water. Oh, I think it was water treatment plants. Yeah. The water is brought in and it's got all the sediment and gunk and muck in. It's cloudy and turbid and then it slows down.
They slow it down, like running it through some grates or whatever. And as it slows down the sediment that is making the water turbid and polluted and everything has a chance to settle the bottom. Well, wetlands provide that same function naturally. So when you have a bunch of, like, polluted water basically come through there, that it slows down when it hits all those mangrove roots or tree trunks or whatever it is, and it gives it a chance for that sediment to fall to the bottom.
It's get sucked up by the tree roots and stored in the trees or the microbial life can break a lot of that stuff down, too. And there's definitely a limit to where you can very easily overload the wetlands ability to filter the water. But if you if you gave it like a manageable supply, that is a major service that it does is it cleans our water. They call wetlands the kidneys of the earth.
Yeah. And they they've even done studies where they tried to, I guess, sort of monetize what an area of wetland might do if it were a treatment plant. And there's one in South Carolina called the Congeries Bottomland Hardwood Swamp. He's just all contrabands for sure, is they said that that is basically equivalent to about a five million dollar water treatment plant, just sitting there being a wetland, doing its thing. Thank you. Nature pretty amazing. I saw the beavers provide the dams that that they build that end up being temporary wetlands that somebody estimated.
It's worth about 100 grand. If a human tried to build an artificial one, which we do that if you just let beavers do their thing, they will they will do the same thing for free. That's right, you have to pay them 100 grand. No, there's also because there's so much going on in a wetland, there's so much life, they kind of form like these metropolises for all sorts of different types of animals on all the way up the food chain, including plants, animals, microbial life, worms, fish, larger predators like dolphins and alligators.
And all of them are sitting there providing food for us, if you like gator tail. But are you better preserve those wetlands?
Yeah, it's they point out here that the commercial fishing industry in the US, 75 percent of the fish and shellfish harvested here had fish that at least had a temporary home in the wetlands and that recreationally, if you're a recreational fish person, fisher person, then 90 percent of the US fish catch is at least the breeding ground lies in the wetlands for those fish.
And the same thing goes for birds to and they're enormously important habitats for birds, some permanent, but also migratory, too, because if you're flying along and you're a bird and you are a water bird, you need a place to land. Not only are you looking for water, but you might really enjoy a swamp because it offers protection from predators. It offers a port in the storm. It's just all around. Valuable thing for birds, too. Yeah.
I mean, imagine flying from Canada to Texas and you're going over Oklahoma. You're a little tired. You look down, you see one of those. Which ones were those? The Prairie Playaz the the the prairie pothole.
Prairie potholes. Yeah. Oh, man, what a sight.
Aren't you describing a scene in Jonathan Livingston Seagull? Probably so. So the point is we need to take care of our wetlands because they are a threatened, diverse, very useful place all over the world, especially here in the United States.
And if they are threatened and if things happen, there are going to be all kinds of bad things, you know, vegetative damage, the plant life just being maybe white and out, wiped out altogether.
Storm surge is being way worse, flooding being way worse, especially helps to see the value in them if you consider them a buffer zone between us and and the hardest ravages of nature.
Yeah, and like you mentioned, pollution, there is a limit, but they do absorb and mitigate levels of water pollution. And it just they just can't take too much of us, you know. Right.
Exactly. Which man if there's anything that characterises humans in the 20th and 21st centuries, it's too much of us. Yeah. You know what I mean. What can we do, though? Well, besides donating to wetland projects, we can definitely do that.
You can definitely do that. There's some good ones out there. I believe Ducks Unlimited is one of the wetlands initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Wetlands International. But apparently in the United States, something like 75 percent of wetlands are in privately owned property. And in the United States, we have I mean, private property is one of the fundamental tenets of American society. So if you say I want to fill in this wetland and kill off these beavers, you're allowed to do that.
Whether that's a good idea and whether that's going to affect other people, that's a different story. So if you own private property with a wetland on it and you're doing just fine with that wetland, leave the wetland alone. It's very important.
Yeah, I guess this is where it gets a little tricky in definitions because in plenty of places there are restrictions on building near water like this.
Sure. I guess I just don't know. Like, you can't build in a flood zone. You can't I mean, it depends on where you are, but in Atlanta, you can't. And then with these all these creeks and streams in Atlanta, they have what's called stream buffers. Sure. 50 foot, seventy five foot, 100 foot. And I think think twenty five is the lowest. And for these you have to get variances to do anything which your neighborhood has to approve.
And I talked to a guy that apparently anything over anything under seventy five feet is pretty, pretty tricky to get approved. So I don't know if they're wetlands or not, but there are restrictions on stuff like that.
OK, so that brings up the next point of what you and I and everybody else can do, which is vote for people free to local elected office who part of their platform is protecting wetlands. Yeah, like all of those buffer zones, all those variances and all those prohibitions. Those are those came from L.A. City Councils over the years that decided that wetlands needed protecting. You don't find those everywhere, but once they get. In place, they usually don't get repealed very easily, so if you make preserving wetlands part of what you're voting for, that would have an impact for sure.
Yeah, and whatever you voted for, just vote, OK?
Vote especially to say that I know when the presidential elections are always the big sexy votes, but the local politics matters even more almost sometimes.
Yeah, I vote for all of it. Take an interest in the in your society. Yeah. OK, well you got anything else about wetlands. No, I don't either. This is a good one. I'm pretty happy with it. And since I said that, everybody, it's time for listener mail.
Yeah. I'm going to call this the first X Y five K. Oh yeah. Do you see these? Yes, man. Congratulations to everybody who took part. Yeah.
So what happened was some stuff you should know. Listeners got together and put together a five K stuff. You should know five K and we got periodic updates from Aaron, Huey Mizell or myself. I'm not sure how you pronounce it. I'm going with Mozelle myself. But this is, um, this is the final email about how it went. Uh, hey, guys, want to let you know that the S y five K is over. It was so nice to look at everyone's pictures and hear what episodes of stuff you should know they listen to is that was the idea mentioned.
Some people might fudge that and listen to Marc Maron or whatever.
That's not like they're disqualified. I think a lot of us have suffered from a lack of human connection at this time, and the silly little virtual event gave us something to bond over. I don't think I would have tried this with any other group of people. The stuff, you know, AMI is wonderful and it speaks volumes in regard to you guys. The tone that you set in your podcast, interesting and funny, carries over into your fan base and has created a little lovely corner of the Internet.
I totally agree, Aaron. And the same can be said of the movie Crush page. Very, very good people, not snippy or rude and going after each other on Facebook, which is kind of what Facebook seems to be all about.
Oh, yeah. It's like a garden paradise over there. And as far as creepy, yeah, it's great.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you made these people wonderful, but the average stuff you should know, Ami Bera is like that interesting, funny and willing to participate in a virtual five K with a complete stranger. And they love Stroope waffles.
I even bought thirteen stuff, you know, stickers to send out to some people as prizes. It's just a little thing. But everyone that I've been in touch with has been exceedingly kind. This is what we need right now, these small human connections, a podcast to listen to and laugh with a walk, run, bear chase to do virtually with a bunch of near strangers and stuff. You shouldn't have sticker to put in your fridge or on your laptop.
If you get a chance, go to the event page and scroll through some of the posts. They're delightful, like the woman who did our five K at three months postpartum and crushed it, or the dad who pushed his adorable daughter in her stroller on the five K while listening to his favorite episode, which was Spam. We had first timers and it was a good one. We had first timers, people recovering from injury, runners and walkers, so many smiles and stuff.
You know, t shirts sign off for now, but just running to tell you as a success, we might even do it again with love. And that is again from Aaron Huey Mizell. And that is great. Aaron, thank you for doing this.
And that really does speak to to the quality of our listeners in every single way indubitably.
Yeah. Thanks a lot, Aaron. It's good to hear from you and to everybody who participated in the five five K, you are the champions, our friend, even if you listen to Mark marein.
But maybe Chuck just. That's it. OK, well, if you want to get in touch with us like Aaron did and do something interesting, we want to hear about it. You can write to us in an email to Stuff podcast and I heart radio dotcom.
Stuff you should know is a production of radios HowStuffWorks for more podcasts, my radio, is it the radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows? Everybody has a podcast, all right, every celebrity, every what you do in college, there are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there and yeah, it's a bit of a mess.
I'm Necla and my new show, Servant of God, will give you the most interesting and important stories in podcasting. And I'll tell you why you should care to listen to serve in a pod on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast.
I need you to get here, maybe you know me as mayor. We know that this is the first year of the 20s has been one of chaos and anguish. But I believe now is the beginning of America's deciding decade, a time that will present leaders and all Americans with decisions that will shape life in this country for the rest of this century. In my new podcast, I'll be talking to people from every field whose ideas and actions will shape the era that is about to begin.
I look at everything through a racial list.
Is this going to perpetuate systemic racism or is it going to help dismantle what the rest of the country and the elected officials have to start doing that they have to know what systemic racism is.
When people protest in a country that means they still love it enough, but they still believe change is possible.
I have hope that we are actually going to figure out how to allow people to be free hearted, free thinkers.
Listen to the deciding decade on the I Heart Radio and Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.