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Camrose Creek Research Project

Understanding the link between wetlands, water quality and flooding

Prairie wetlands are powerful

Cutting-edge research from DUC’s Camrose Creek Research Project in Alberta sheds new light on the significant benefits prairie wetlands provide to Alberta’s environment and economy. Results form a compelling business case for wetland conservation.

Delivering environmental benefits that are on the money

Research shows that wetlands in the Camrose Creek Watershed provide $1.8 million in social benefits*.

$1.25 Million in flood protection

$284,830 in carbon sequestration

$143,697 in phosphorus control

$100,793 in nitrogen control

If wetlands in the Camrose Creek Watershed are lost, these valuable benefits would be removed. Ill-informed decisions and actions could be devastating to municipalities, farmers and communities. Costs could be staggering. Ensuring that wetlands are protected is key to the health and prosperity of all Albertans.

Hear from the scientists who are studying some of
Alberta’s most valuable ecosystems

DUC research scientist Pascal Badiou and Sarah Skinner of the Battle River Watershed Alliance describe how the Camrose Creek Research Project will help municipal planners, farmers and residents better manage wetlands.

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* Pattison-Williams, J.K. 2018. A Business Case for Wetland Conservation in the Camrose Creek Watershed.
A Research Report produced for Ducks Unlimited Canada by Pattison Resource Consulting Ltd.

Research scientist Pascal Badiou, in prairie marsh.
Research scientist Pascal Badiou, in prairie marsh. © DUC

Wetlands as natural green infrastructure

Wetlands guard against the effects of extreme weather in much the same way traditional engineered structures, like dams and storm drains, do. But building with nature provides many other environmental services.

Flood protection
Wetlands are important regulators of water quality and water quantity. When wetlands are lost, the watershed’s ability to hold heavy amounts of precipitation is reduced. This contributes to flooding and increases the volume of harmful nutrients, including phosphorus, that flow downstream via runoff.

Wetland loss in the Camrose Creek Watershed has greatly expanded the contributing area of the watershed—from 7% in 1962 to 53.5% in 2014. This makes conserving the wetlands that remain more important than ever.

Water quality
Many watersheds in Canada are experiencing water quantity and quality problems. Alberta’s Battle River, which Camrose Creek flows into, is a prime example. It has a long history of pollution caused by large amounts of phosphorus entering its waters.

Wetlands are a natural solution. Conserving and restoring these ecosystems increases the landscape’s ability to store and hold excess water and to filter harmful pollutants before they reach our rivers and lakes.

Carbon storage
Established wetlands like those found in the Camrose Creek Watershed store large amounts of carbon through the sequestration of CO2 to organic carbon in the soil. If these wetlands are destroyed, the carbon they’re holding will be released into the atmosphere as greenhouse gas.


While wetland loss in the Camrose Creek watershed is moderate as compared to other prairie watersheds that DUC has studied, it is approaching a critical threshold. Help conserve these important wetlands. Ensure the watershed can handle extreme precipitation and do your part to keep Alberta’s landscape healthy and resilient.

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The Camrose Creek Research Project is the third installment in DUC’s “Business Case for Wetlands” research project.

Findings from the Camrose Creek study will add to research conducted in Broughton’s Creek in Manitoba and Smith Creek in Saskatchewan.

Together, this research represents the most comprehensive analyses of the costs and benefits associated with land conversion and the impacts on the environmental benefits provided by wetlands.