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Clean water starts with healthy wetlands

March 21, 2016 National
Clean water starts with healthy wetlands
Wetlands, like this boreal wetland complex, are an important natural filtration system for water. © DUC

The average Canadian uses more than 250 litres – nearly two bathtubs – of water every day in their home. But long before it reaches our taps, water has travelled through a complex natural filtration system championed by one of the most important ecosystems in the world: wetlands.

Tomorrow, as we mark World Water Day, remember that clean water starts with healthy wetlands. These marshes, swamps and bogs remove pollutants and harmful nutrients before they enter our lakes and rivers. They trap sediment and reduce the effects of erosion, floods and droughts.

“Imagine if pollution prevented your children from running to the tap in your home for a refreshing drink of water after playing outside,” says Greg Siekaniec, CEO of Ducks Unlimited Canada. “Imagine if your favourite lake was unsafe to swim or fish in. Or what if the ducks and songbirds, whose arrival you anxiously await every spring, simply stopped showing up? Wetlands are natural defenders of the world’s most precious resource, but the reality is that water resources are facing serious challenges. Much of this is related to the loss of wetlands.”

In Canada, we lose up to 80 acres of wetlands every day. The effects of this loss are equivalent to dumping more than 25 wheelbarrows of fertilizer into our lakes and streams every day. As the footprint of human activity on the landscape grows, wetlands are at risk of being drained and destroyed to make room.  Algae blooms that are showing up in our lakes, as well as more frequent and more damaging flood events in our communities are proof that the land and water we all depend on is changing.

“Canada has approximately seven per cent of the world’s supply of renewable fresh water,” says Siekaniec. “We have the opportunity and the responsibility to take care of it. Wetland conservation is our best chance.”

Wetlands and water quality is a key focus of Ducks Unlimited Canada’s Rescue Our Wetlands campaign. It’s the largest conservation campaign in the history of North America, with a goal of raising $500 million for wetland conservation in Canada.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.

Contact Information

Carolyn Kosheluk
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Phone: 204-467-3279