Identifying ecosystems resilient to climate and land-use changes is recognized as essential for conservation strategies. However, wetland ecosystems may respond differently to stressors depending on their successional state and the strength of ecohydrological feedbacks resulting in fluctuations in habitat availability and suitability. Long-term habitat suitability is necessary for the persistence of wetland-dependent species and a key characteristic of climatic refugia. In the present article, we review and synthesize biogeochemical, thermal, ecological, and hydrological feedbacks and interactions that operate within wetlands and, consequently, regulate overwintering suitability for many freshwater turtles and snakes. We propose that understanding the breadth and interconnected nature of processes controlling temperature, dissolved oxygen, and water table position are vital for the conservation of northern reptile populations that depend on wetlands to survive winter conditions. Finally, we suggest that our integrated framework can guide future research and the management of wetland ecosystems in an era of unprecedented change.