Nature Conservancy of Canada celebrates 200th project in Manitoba for World Wetlands Day
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is marking World Wetlands Day in Manitoba by celebrating its 200th project in the province.
The Swan Lake Wetland-Parkland Complex project, located approximately 100 kilometres north of Winnipeg, near Lundar, in the Interlake Natural Area, is over 2,300 acres (935 hectares). At one time, the property contained several homesteads, with little evidence remaining now, although the families still reside in the area.
The conservation area is a mix of forest, savanna, grasslands and expansive wetlands, which tie into Big Swan Lake and the surrounding smaller water bodies.
Given the importance of wetlands to Manitoba and its citizens, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has placed a great deal of emphasis on the securement of wetlands to ensure the protection of this important habitat for their continued use by a wide range of birds throughout the province.
Bird surveys conducted on the Swan Lake Wetland-Parkland Complex confirmed 86 bird species, including four Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)-designated threatened species at risk, the least bittern, eastern whip-poor-will, bobolink and barn swallow. The open wetlands along the east end of the property are important for many wetland bird species, including sandhill crane, great blue heron and American white pelican.
The province of Manitoba has some of the finest wetlands in Canada, and is considered to be among the most important breeding and staging grounds for wetland birds in North America.
“It’s exciting for our 200th project to have been a wetland as there are many important reasons to conserve Manitoba’s wetlands,” said Kevin Teneycke, senior director of conservation with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in Manitoba. “Wetlands help clean water, reduce flooding and erosion, minimize drought and provide plants and animals with food, water, shelter and a place to call home. During warmer months, wetlands also provide excellent recreational spots and learning opportunities.”
“On World Wetlands Day, I want to congratulate the Nature Conservancy of Canada for completing its 200th project in the province of Manitoba,” said the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “The Government of Canada is proud to support these habitat conservation efforts through the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Working together, we will continue to conserve important wetlands habitat in Manitoba and across Canada.”
Canada is a signatory to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, also called the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2, to mark the 1971 adoption of the Convention in Ramsar, Iran. Ninety per cent of United Nations’ member states have become contracting parties to the Convention on Wetlands.
In addition to providing breeding habitat and hunting grounds for an astonishing range of species, wetlands play a important role in the hydrology of the broader landscape. The wetlands collect and hold water during peak run-off and slowly release that water throughout the summer as the surrounding uplands dry out. This provides a water source for nearby lands.
Wetlands help mitigate the impacts of climate change by helping limit damage to infrastructure and property. They slow the overland movement of water, especially during floods and heavy rainfall events. Wetlands absorb storm energy and huge amounts of water, which reduces erosion. Wetlands also filter toxins, sediments and nutrients out of surface water before they reach larger lakes, rivers or other waterways used as a source for human consumption.
Biologists estimate that over 50 percent of wildlife species in North America rely on access to wetland habitat for at least part of their life cycle and almost 35 percent of all rare, threatened and endangered species are dependent on wetlands.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped to protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has helped conserve over 63,000 acres (25,495 hectares) in Manitoba.
The Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is a unique public-private partnership led and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. To date, $345 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada, with more than $500 million in matching contributions raised by NCC and its partners to secure our natural heritage.
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