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Wetland and riparian species are essential to healthy ecosystems, and each species provides specific functions beneficial to the system and to man, and wetland and riparian areas should be designed and managed to incorporate all of these functions. By absorbing the force of strong winds, fluctuating water levels, abating flood peaks, and preventing shoreline erosion, wetlands and the plants growing in them, protect terrestrial areas from storm and flood damage. The plants in wetlands help to filter chemical and particulate pollutants, and trap sediment in the water column. The trapped sediment gradually develops into mud flats, sand bars, or gradually fill-in creating habitat and food web support for a wide range of organisms. All of these functions add to the stability and health of the wetland and provide useful benefits to the flora and fauna of the wetland and surrounding ecosystems.