For centuries wetlands were regarded as little more than habitat for mosquitoes, snakes, and other pests. Today, in addition to recognizing wetlands as habitats for a variety of wildlife species (including mosquitoes and snakes), we are aware that wetlands are the nursery grounds for our fisheries, and that they filter pollutants, reduce flooding, protect against erosion, provide timber products, recharge groundwater reserves, and furnish society with educational, scientific, recreational, and aesthetic benefits. Local, state, and federal governments have enacted laws that regulate the use of wetlands to preserve these public benefits.