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Conserving Canada’s Wetlands

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DU Canada’s wetland mapping comes to Vancouver conference

Oak Hammock Marsh, Man., November 8, 2011 – The world of geography and mapping is the focus of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Canada User Conference in Vancouver on November 8 and 9. ESRI Canada, a member of DUC’s Diamond Legacy League and provider of geographic information system (GIS) solutions for environmental management, will present a local example of the Canadian Wetland Inventory (CWI) Progress Map hosted by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC).

The Fraser Lowland and the East Coast Vancouver Island wetland inventories are great examples of completed wetland inventories in B.C. This information is available to Vancouver and surrounding communities on DUC’s DUC’s CWI website.

“Wetlands are extremely important ecosystems to people in B.C. and to all Canadians as they provide clean drinking water, flood and drought relief, carbon sequestration, recreational opportunities, as well as habitat for wildlife,” says Brian Kazmerik, national manager, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for DUC. “That’s why a complete Canadian Wetland Inventory for the country would be invaluable and the Fraser Lowland and the East Coast Vancouver Island wetland inventories in B.C. are a good step toward our national goal.”

Although Canada is estimated to have between 23 to 28 per cent of the world’s wetlands, it currently does not have a complete national inventory or system in place to monitor wetlands. Wetlands are lost in Canada at an alarming rate. In fact, 70 per cent of wetlands have disappeared or have been degraded in settled areas of the country, and more are lost every day.

A national inventory of wetlands is needed to answer the basic questions crucial to their sound management: Where are the remaining wetlands? How much area do they cover? What types of wetlands are they? And are they being threatened?

DUC uses ESRI technology for wetland mapping to produce consistent environmental information critical to better decision-making. ESRI Canada is holding eight user conferences across Canada this fall where DUC’s GIS data services will demonstrate the value and the need to have a completed inventory for all of the country’s wetlands.

“The CWI will also be fundamental to sustainable development,” says Kazmerik. “Without a complete wetland inventory, we cannot make informed decisions that will affect the quality and quantity of Canada’s water resources. That is why we are very fortunate to have national partners such as ESRI Canada and regional partners like the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources who has provided their wetland mapping results for this province.”

DUC’s GIS department is also the recent recipient of an ESRI award from the Society of Conservation GIS 2011 International Conservation Mapping Competition where their online wetland inventory is highlighted in the Conservation GIS Map Book. To see if a wetland inventory has been completed or is in progress in your area, visit the interactive map at www.ducks.ca/cwi

For more information, contact:

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