World Wetlands Day 2019
The conservation and restoration of wetlands in Manitoba must be a top priority, especially in the face of a changing climate, says Kevin Teneycke, acting regional vice-president with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Manitoba.
Teneycke is commenting on World Wetlands Day, February 2, 2019. NCC is interested in meeting with landowners to discuss options to conserve privately owned wetlands in the province.
“Wetlands play an important role in the health of our country and our communities. They play a critical role in absorbing and storing carbon,” said Teneycke. "They also remove sediments, excess nutrients and even bacteria from our surface and ground water. Like a giant paper towel, they absorb and hold water to buffer our cities and farms from floods and droughts, both of which are growing more common and extreme in recent years.”
Canada is home to 25 per cent of the world’s wetlands, which are important for the health of our planet. However, these ecosystems are disappearing very quickly due in part to land development, invasive species and pollution. Every day, important wetlands are being lost across Canada.
A recent example of NCC’s wetland conservation in Manitoba can be found east of Brandon. The Douglas Marsh is a large wetland complex fed by the Assiniboine Delta aquifer. The marsh plays a key role in filtration and water storage for the aquifer, which provides a critically important source of water for local residents, agriculture and industry. It also feeds into the Assiniboine River through freshwater springs. To date, NCC has conserved 63 hectares (156 acres) of the marsh, which supports one of Manitoba’s largest concentration of yellow rail, a nocturnal bird listed as special concern.
- It’s estimated that over 50 per cent of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900. In the last 50 years, our planet’s inland and coastal wetlands have declined by over one-third, where data is available — a rate three times greater than the loss of forests.
- Wetlands in southern Canada reflect the fate of wetlands around the world. It’s estimated that by 1990, 20 million hectares of Canada’s wetlands had been lost. Wetlands associated with urban areas are particularly threatened, with 80 to 98 per cent converted to other uses. But almost everywhere Canadians live, most of the original wetlands have been lost.
- From providing ecological services, such as flood control and carbon storage, to food production, wetlands play a vital role in our day to day lives.
- Almost 35 per cent of all rare, threatened and endangered species are dependent on wetlands.
- Wetlands are vital nesting and feeding grounds for waterfowl. They provide nursery habitat for fishes and are one of Canada’s most diverse ecosystems. At least half of our wildlife species rely on wetlands for at least part of their life cycle.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is the nation's leading not-for-profit, private 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 more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast. In Manitoba, we have conserved over over 26,300 hectares (65,0000 acres).
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