Wetlands can be Canada’s good news story in 2022
On World Wetlands Day, Ducks Unlimited Canada celebrates conservation wins that are making life better for wildlife, people and communities
Oak Hammock Marsh, Manitoba – Over the past year, headlines about the environment have been bleak. Floods, droughts and fires have hit our fellow Canadians hard. But the impacts of climate change should not make us feel powerless. Wetlands are a formidable force of nature that has our back. In 2022, they can be Canada’s good news story.
When you look at the ways in which people and communities are working together to conserve wetlands across the country, the good news flows like…well, water. As nations around the globe prepare to mark World Wetlands Day on February 2, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is celebrating some important wins here at home that are making life better for wildlife, people and communities.
“Canada is home to 25 per cent of the world’s remaining wetlands, which is a tremendous gift and also a tremendous responsibility,” says Larry Kaumeyer, chief executive officer for DUC. “These incredible ecosystems provide the environmental solutions Canadians need. Wetlands are important natural tools that combat floods, droughts and other extreme weather events—and we’re proud to be the preeminent conservation organization that’s delivering these solutions in communities across the country.”
To date, DUC has conserved 6.6 million acres that are estimated to provide $5.66 billion in economic benefits to Canadians every year. This includes billions associated with climate regulation services, water purification and storage, pollination as well as recreation and tourism. Given the growing concerns Canadians have about the rising costs of insurance as a result of climate change, the value of wetlands cannot be underestimated.
Visit ducks.ca/wwd-2022 to learn more about the ways that wetlands have our back. You can also check out stories about projects and partnerships like those below that are bolstering our environmental, economic and social well-being.
- British Columbia: After experiencing both floods and fires this past year, wetlands like those at DUC’s 148 Mile Marshes project are helping mitigate the effects of climate change.
- Alberta: Thanks to new government funding, DUC is collaborating with municipalities across the province on a Wetland Replacement Program that will restore wetlands and enhance landscape resiliency.
- Saskatchewan: DUC is partnering with a local First Nation to improve water quality in the Lake Winnipeg watershed while passing on sustainability for the next seven generations.
- Manitoba:The Bars Lake Project in the province’s southwest is just one example of how DUC and local ranchers are working together to advance sustainable agriculture through wetland conservation.
- Ontario: DUC recently surpassed an incredible milestone of conserving one million acres of wetlands and other associated habitats, which are saving space for nature in Canada’s most populous province.
- Quebec: Leading-edge wetland mapping technology, created by DUC conservation experts, is enabling land-use planners, real estate developers, farmers, foresters and the public to make smart, sustainable choices that balance economic growth with environmental protection.
- Atlantic Canada: DUC is embarking on a 10-year, multi-million-dollar conservation project to renew and restore vital freshwater habitat on the Wolastoq (Saint John River) floodplain, which includes some of the most important and threatened wetlands in New Brunswick.
- Boreal region: DUC’s knowledge and experience conserving boreal peatlands is helping inform climate strategies emerging from the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
Despite these successes, there is still much work to do. Canada is far from receiving top marks when it comes to making good on its commitments to wetlands. For all the acres that have been conserved, even more are being lost. It’s estimated that up to 70 per cent of wetlands have been lost in southern areas of Canada—and up to 95 per cent in Canada’s most densely populated areas. In addition, Canada is one of the few developed nations that doesn’t have a comprehensive national wetland inventory and monitoring system. This is a critical aspect of conservation planning that’s needed to inform conservation action.
“To change the environmental headlines from negative to positive, Canada must ramp up investments in wetlands,” says Kaumeyer. “When we work together, the results speak for themselves. They come to life all around us, evidenced in clean water, abundant wildlife and healthy landscapes. What we’re doing is working, but we must work to do more.”
Together, we can continue making progress on conserving important wetlands across the country. In recognition of World Wetlands Day, join DUC to ensure the good news story about wetlands gets the attention, commitment and investment it deserves in 2022—and beyond.
About World Wetlands Day: February 2nd marks the adoption of the Convention of Wetlands, which took place in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. It’s a treaty negotiated by countries and non-governmental organizations that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Canada is one of the treaty’s contracting parties and currently has 37 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar sites). Ducks Unlimited Canada is a proud conservation partner for 24 of them.
About Ducks Unlimited Canada: Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations, Indigenous Peoples and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment. To learn more about DUC’s innovative environmental solutions and services, visit www.ducks.ca
For more information or to arrange an interview with a DUC wetland expert, contact:
Ducks Unlimited Canada