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Va. Leads In 2011 Chesapeake Wetland Restoration

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Virginia restored more wetlands than any other state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed last year.

The Chesapeake Bay Program says 3,775 acres of wetlands were restored in 2011, led by Virginia which restored 1,653 acres. Maryland was second with 750 acres and New York third with 625. West Virginia restored 369 acres, Pennsylvania 254, and Delaware 123.

The regional partnership that coordinates bay restoration efforts says wetlands help filter pollutants and sediments from storm runoff keeping it from harming bay water quality. Restoration is needed because only 5 percent of bay waters met program goals last year. Wetlands also provide habitat and protect against flooding and erosion.

The bay program says 14,795 acres were established between 1998 and 2010, nearly half the 30,000-acre restoration goal of the six bay states.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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