The Wetlands Preservation and Mapping Project is a grassroots environmental justice effort founded by artist friends Hannah Althea and Lindsay Costello. We are based in Portland, Oregon, and we focus on local bioregions. Our goal is to advocate and educate about Oregon wetlands, their environmental and social role, and the implications of wetland loss for vulnerable humans and other-than-human populations.
40% of Oregon’s wetlands have been filled, drained, or diked since Eurocolonialism began in the contiguous 48 states. We aim to honor the loss of one million acres of wetlands that have been filled and developed upon. We fight to protect the 1.4 million acres of wetlands we still have.
We know that wetlands play a critical role in ecosystem health, including improvement of water quality, wildfire defense, and biodiversity. We also recognize that filled and developed wetlands results in flooding and degraded water quality, as well as infrastructure issues for the populations that live there. We recognize that those who will be most impacted by development on wetlands are the same marginalized populations who are most severely impacted by climate change as a whole.
One aspect of WPMP’s work is a quarterly newsletter, Water Logs, which investigates the social, cultural, and ecological roles of Portland’s regional waterways through print design, art, and writing. Click here to subscribe.
Another aspect of WPMP’s ongoing work is to investigate and map present and past wetlands and streams, inspired by the brilliant research of Anne Whiston Spirn, who found a correlation between filled streams and urban disinvestment.