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Conserving Canada’s Wetlands

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Flooding linked to wetland drainage

Shane Gabor manages Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Freshwater Initiative, a program designed to identify and address information needs related to the ecological goods and services provided by wetlands and other natural areas.

Oak Hammock Marsh, Man, May 31, 2011 – Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) researcher Shane Gabor recently had the opportunity during a popular Winnipeg radio show to explain the link between wetland drainage and flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Listen to Gabor’s full interview on CJOB radio’s Richard Cloutier Reports.
(9 min., 19 sec.)

As Gabor explains, wetland drainage is contributing to the increase in flooding here on the Prairies.

When wetlands are drained, that water needs to go somewhere; usually negatively impacting our neighbours and others downstream. No matter how bad the flooding situation is this year, the science is clear – wetland drainage will only make our next flood event worse.

Wetlands help reduce flooding by acting as sponges; holding water, then slowly releasing it back onto the land and into the soil. When one hectare of wetland is drained, approximately four additional hectares of drainage area are added to downstream flows.

There is abundant scientific evidence documenting that flooding is not solely a function of unexpected soil moisture, precipitation and extreme weather. Flood damages are impacted by human development, which is completely within our control.

Flooding causes major damage and costs all of us in infrastructure repair and compensation expenses. The costs to repair the damage done in a flood year will only increase if we keep draining wetlands.

Wetland drainage is a major environmental and economic issue that all Manitobans should be concerned about. We can’t afford to lose anymore wetlands.

Stopping wetland loss is an important solution to preventing even greater flooding problems in the future. Manitoba needs a wetland policy that protects wetlands so they can protect all of us.

Manitoba is headed into an election this fall and Manitobans need to make wetlands an election issue. Talk to your local candidates and tell them why wetlands are important for reducing flooding and to you.

For more information, contact:

Karli Reimer, k_reimer@ducks.ca
National Communications Specialist – Conservation
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Phone: 204-467-3279