Canadian Wetland Inventory

Unlike most developed nations, Canada does not have a comprehensive wetland inventory for the entire country. Since 1979, DUC has helped fill this information gap by using aerial photography and satellite imagery to inventory millions of acres of wetlands across Canada.

The Canadian Wetland Inventory (CWI) was established in 2002 by DUC, Environment Canada, the Canadian Space Agency and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council. As a resource, the CWI is valuable for a number of other purposes. It helps to:

  • Focus conservation, restoration and wetland monitoring programs
  • Assess changes in wetland abundance and classification in relation to climate change concerns
  • Assist industry, governments and conservation groups to develop land-use policies and protocols
  • Measure performance of those policies and protocols towards landscape sustainability objectives

Over the past decade, standard CWI methodology has been tested and finalized on 25 study sites. DUC has completed wetland inventories in the Boreal and Prairie ecozones, as well as the Saint Lawrence Lowlands in Quebec. It has also contributed, in various ways, to each of the maps completed in the remainder of Canada. The remainder of the inventory will be completed within five years of securing funding.

CWI Data Model

The CWI is a national approach to establish a consistent framework to map wetlands, in order to build Canada’s capacity to respond to local, regional, national and international drivers. The CWI encourages consistent interpretations by communities of interest through a common data structure and classification system. Based on The Canadian Wetland Classification System, the Canadian Wetland Inventory data model divides wetlands into shallow water, marsh, swamp, fen, and bogs.

View the CWI Data Model

CWI Progress Map

The CWI Progress Map displays wetland areas across Canada. It’s used to assess future wetland loss, degradation and restoration.

This interactive map displays CWI-compatible wetland inventory areas that have been completed or are in progress across Canada. This application also visualizes detailed wetland polygons and information for certain areas where wetland inventory data have been made available.

The map has been compiled to make wetland information readily available for a broad range of users. Source and partnership information for the various wetland inventory datasets have been provided within the map application.

View the CWI Progress Map